Major step forward for flood-hit Carlisle school's new site

Carlisle MP John Stevenson, right, tours Newman School's temporary site
Carlisle MP John Stevenson, right, tours Newman School's temporary site

Efforts to find a new site for the Carlisle secondary school destroyed by Storm Desmond have taken a major step forward.

All parties involved have agreed in principle that Newman Catholic School can be rebuilt at Blackwell, near the city's racecourse.

The final land deal remains subject to detailed negotiations and contracts being signed between the parties.

Heads of Terms - a letter of intent - for the purchase of both the site and an option agreement that local firm Story had to develop it in the future are now agreed.

Headteacher John McAuley, the school's governors and the Bishop and Trustees of the Lancaster Catholic Diocese, say they are "delighted" that negotiations to acquire the site are "well advanced".

A statement issued on behalf of the school and diocese added: "These terms are of course subject to contract, and detailed negotiations will be undertaken over the coming weeks to finalise the agreements, but we are very optimistic, given the goodwill associated with the negotiations so far, that the Blackwell site will be the new home for the school."

Cumbria County Council is paying up to £3m to help buy the land necessary to site a new school.

The Government's Education Funding Agency (EFA) will provide the multi-million pound funding package for a new building.

The EFA has also given management support following a pledge made in January 2016 by the then Education Secretary.

Nicky Morgan toured Newman School's Lismore Place site a month after it was swamped by floodwaters.

Headteacher John McAuley says Newman School can now look forward to a positive future in a modern complex.

Mr McAuley said: "I am sure the governors, staff, students and their parents will be delighted with the new modern school which will cater for some 700 Catholic and non-Catholic children from year seven through to sixth form."

Carlisle MP John Stevenson was updated about the progress being made on Friday when he toured Newman School's temporary home in Harraby, the site of the former Pennine Way Primary School.

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