Approval sought for £9m school

A digital impression of the planned Henry Bloom Noble School

A digital impression of the planned Henry Bloom Noble School

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Education chiefs are seeking planning permission for a new primary school on part of the former Noble’s Hospital site, in Douglas.

The £9.8m Henry Bloom Noble Primary School will replace the ageing Ballacloan Infants’ School and Fairfield Junior School buildings.

Education Minister Tim Crookall MHK will seek approval for the £9.8m at next month’s Tynwald sitting.

‘This is a significant investment in education for that part of Douglas and will replace two ageing schools which have limited facilities and no opportunity for expansion, because of their location, with a building that offers 21st century opportunities for indoor and outdoor learning,’ he said.

The new school is to be two-form entry, with 14 classrooms.

The scheme includes a special needs unit.

There will be excellent sporting facilities for school and community use, with a two-court, multi-purpose sports hall and changing facilities.

External features will include hard play areas, an artificial sports pitch and a grass pitch.

With Tynwald’s approval, work has already taken place to partially clear the site.

A ward block is being retained and would be converted to form part of the new school, providing classroom accommodation over two levels.

Parents and the wider community had the chance to shape the plans when they went on display at Fairfield Junior last summer.

The school is due to open its doors to pupils in September 2016.

Ballacloan and Fairfield, have been known as Henry Bloom Noble Primary School since the start of term.

Following the retirement of Ballacloan head teacher Jill Gill at Easter following 43 years in education, both sites now have the same head teacher, Ian Walmsley and deputy head Jo McCabe.

The plans are due to be submitted to government planners over the next couple of weeks.

Mr Crookall said the future was unknown for the Ballacloan site, in Demesne Road, or Fairfield site, in Tynwald Street, which he described as being in ‘fairly prime sites’ in Douglas. They would first be offered to other government departments.

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