A NEW primary school could be built in Inverness by the end of 2020.
Highland Council has taken steps to consult with parents and homeowners in the Holm and Ness-side areas about plans for a new school there.
A report to be approved by councillors this week claims the facility is needed to accommodate a huge new housing development at Ness Castle.
Without it, council officials say the nearest school, Holm Primary, will be three times over capacity by 2030.
Assuming the plans are rubber-stamped by the people committee on Thursday, a consultation on the catchment areas for both the new Ness Castle and existing Holm schools will begin.
A report by education officer Ian Jackson pointed out that Holm Primary was already over its 244-pupil capacity by 37 pupils and a temporary classroom had been installed.
Without the new school the pupil roll could soar to 700 by 2030, the report claims.
It states: "It is clear that without a new school in the area Holm Primary, and probably other local schools, would be faced with an unmanageable level of overcrowding."
The size of the new school is not yet known as this will depend on the catchment area agreed after the consultation. Costs are also currently unknown for the same reason.
During the six-week consultation for the new school, three options will be considered – residents of the new Ness Castle development and Holm Dell area will attend the new school; Holm Dell children will remain at Holm Primary and the new school will take in all of Ness Castle; or a smaller number of the new houses will be included in the Ness Castle catchment, with the rest attending Holm Primary – though it is pointed out this option would not solve overcrowding at Holm.
The report adds that consultation, planning and construction was likely to take at least three years, with more temporary units to be added to Holm if required in the meantime.
It also says no children attending Holm, or their siblings who have yet to start, will be forced to move when the new school opens.
Anyone interested in the plans can attend a public meeting at Holm Primary from 7pm on Wednesday, November 8 or view the proposals on the council’s website.