The proposed Barra & Vatersay Community Campus project has been put into further question. An update from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar highlights the difficulties the project now faces, with it being reassessed to look at options to make the delivery affordable.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“It is very concerning to hear the Comhairle talk of the risks to the project arising from challenges with the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, along with the effects of Brexit.

“The availability and cost of key construction materials and concerns over the availability of supply chain subcontractors mean that there is a significant increase in costs, and they are looking at how they can prune the project.  The current proposal to demolish the school before any construction cannot now be allowed to happen, particularly considering the risks of pandemic flareups and further time delays.

“Perhaps this is an opportunity to take stock and have real community engagement.  We saw over the summer with the popular online petitions from young locals, Eoghan Macleod and Aaron MacArthur that a lot of people have many reservations about this project.

“I think even the Scottish Government must be having questions over this project as it is now almost four months since I wrote to John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister on this matter and I have yet to receive a response.  Such is the difficulty of the proposals. 

“Up to now expenditure on this project has been on pen and paperwork, no costs have been incurred on demolition or construction.  Now that this project is being reassessed perhaps it is time for the Comhairle and others to go back to the drawing board and have proper community engagement rather than imposition – by fully and properly involving the people, particularly as St Brendan’s Care Home/Hospital has been a pressing need for years now.  The wrong project could be millions of pounds of damaging wrongness.”