A closure-threatened Perth school will stay open for several months longer than planned, despite claims it is already unfit for purpose.
Councillors voted to shut Balhousie Primary in 2018, after hearing about a catalogue of structural problems including dry rot, leaky windows and broken heating.
Despite calls from SNP councillors to save the school and have it refurbished, Perth and Kinross Council’s lifelong learning committee voted for permanent closure and to transfer all pupils to a new multi-million-school planned for North Muirton.
The local authority then received permission from the Scottish Government to close the school at the end of July 2022.
However, it has emerged that progress on the replacement school has been delayed by pandemic restrictions.
A planning application for the development, lodged this week, has revealed that the building is not expected to be finished until 2023.
Perth and Kinross Council confirmed that Balhousie School would stay open until the new building is ready.
And that has prompted calls by independent councillor Xander McDade to have pupils transferred into temporary accommodation.
He said: “Having advocated in January 2018 that the children at Balhousie should be temporarily moved to a decant building until the completion of the new school building due to how poor the state of the building was then, I’m appalled to hear this administration is going to keep children in the building for even longer.
“I would urge the convener to reconsider making budget available so these children can be temporarily moved into a fit for purpose environment in case of further delays.”
Mr McDade had spoken at the original committee meeting about a tour he received at the school just days earlier.
“There is damp, the windows don’t close properly, paint peeling off the walls, heating doesn’t work and dry rot,” he said.
“I don’t consider that an acceptable environment for children. I don’t think a building with damp is safe.
“It is not possible to bring it up to a conductive learning environment in its current state.”
The planned £16.5 million school, which has still to be named, will replace both Balhousie and North Muirton primaries.
Welcoming the new plans for the North Muirton building this week, Conservative councillor Chris Aherne described both current schools as “no longer fit for purpose” and inefficient in terms of maintenance and costs.
Lifelong learning convener Caroline Shiers said she understood the project could be held up by approximately six months.
An update will be given to councillors at an upcoming property meeting.
“I have also had an update on ongoing maintenance at Balhousie Primary and I am pleased that officers have responded so proactively,” she said.
“It is important that we progress with the new build as quickly as possible, as we have recognised the need for provision of this exciting new build to serve the children and communities of Balhousie and North Muirton.”
Perth and Kinross Council confirmed that Balhousie will be kept open until the new building is ready, but declined to comment further.