Facing loss of school and hall

Sorbie Primary School could be sold after councillors agreed to begin a consultation into its closure.

The school has not been used by pupils since Easter when the roll fell so low that parents voted to send their children to Garlieston Primary instead and staff were relocated until a decision could be made on the school’s future.

On Tuesday, education councillors agreed to look at disposing of the building due to a poor predicted school roll in the village.

But now fears have been sparked over the provision of community facilities in the village after the announcement that the village hall may also be earmarked for closure as part of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s facility rationalisation scheme to save £200,000.

Groups have been granted use of the hall until the end of the year and the council says surveys are being carried out to investigate how best to provide a community facility.

A council spokesperson said: “Council officers from community and customer services and school services, ward councillors and community representatives are aware of the situation and are involved in discussions on how best to proceed.

“To assist with this decision-making process, surveys have recently been carried 
out on both properties.”

But Michael McGuinness, who is part of a group set up to try to maintain a facility in the village, said this week he had been told the group would be informed of results from a feasibility study of the buildings, but is yet to hear back from anyone at the council.

MP Russell Brown said: “It beggars belief that despite knowing since before April that the school was likely to be mothballed, council officials put forward plans to close also the village hall.

“It shows just what a complete shambles the whole process of cuts to community facilities has been and the total 
lack of joined-up thinking there is within the council.

“The community has made it clear they would prefer to retain the village hall and the council needs to start listening to local people.”

There are 69 community buildings in the region being looked at with a view to being amalgamated or closed. Newton Stewart and Kirkcudbright community centres are among those already confirmed for closure.