SEVERAL Scottish primary schools will close at the end of May after councillors backed recommendations from officials that the doors should be shut for good. 

Achaleven Primary in Connel near Oban was recommended for closure by council officials, having been mothballed for over two years and having no pupils on its roll.

The mothballing process has cost Argyll and Bute Council nearly £16,000 a year.

Elsewhere Minard Primary and Southend Primary have also been mothballed for a number of years, with pupil numbers not forecast to rise anytime soon.

As a result of the closures, the catchment areas of the schools at Lochgilphead and Furnace will be extended to take in that of Minard, while Castlehill Primary in Campbeltown will have its catchment area extended to cover Southend.

READ MORE: Pictish stone of 'international significance' set to be excavated near Doune

Members of Argyll and Bute Council’s community services committee unanimously agreed that education provision at Minard and Southend should end from Friday, May 31, in accordance with officers’ recommendations.

The committee decided to press ahead with the recommendation despite both the chair and deputy – Yvonne McNeilly (Conservative, Cowal) and Daniel Hampsey (Conservative, Dunoon) – being absent.

Cowal SNP councillor Audrey Forrest took the chair instead for the meeting on March 7.

Councillor Gordon Blair (SNP, Cowal) said: “Is this something we should hold in abeyance until we have our colleagues here as well?

“It is such an important thing. Would it be possible to delay a decision on this item? It is always useful to have discussion and dialogue.”

READ MORE: South Lanarkshire: Parents to protest school transport cuts

Council executive director Douglas Hendry said: “It is an interesting point. The straight answer is that the committee is quorate and can transact the business before us today.

“However, if the committee wanted to continue this to the next meeting, that would be competent, although it would give rise to issues about timescales.”

Graeme McMillan, the council’s transformation programme manager, added: “We have to set implementation dates, and the date for this one is May 31, so in terms of scheduled meetings, there is no time to bring it back to the committee.”

The community services committee’s next meeting is not until Thursday, June 6.

Referring specifically to the Minard Primary recommendation, Councillor Douglas Philand (Independent, Mid Argyll) said: “I am reluctant as it is my back yard, but we have to accept the proposal.

“When I think of the last time we had a full Minard Hall, nothing has come back on this. I have to complement our officers on the fact you have changed the boundary, as that was a big issue at the public meeting we had.

“What will happen to the estate itself? The community were keen to at least look at it; is that something that could be taken forward fairly quickly?”

McMillan said: “We have to look at dissolving the school as an education establishment, but if there was interest, it is something that the council could look to move forward and work with any interested parties on.”