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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Plans for £12m school plus campus in Carlisle taking shape

ALL the cards are falling into place to create a £12.3m school with a sport and community campus in Carlisle.

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Cyril Weber: ‘Great facility’

Part of the Harraby estate is set to be transformed with a landmark scheme on the site of the old North Cumbria Technology College on Edgehill Road.

Cumbria County Council is ploughing £10.7m into the campus, with Carlisle City Council backing it to the tune of £1.6m.

The city council has now agreed to release the £600,000 first phase of its share of the cash.

Members of the authority’s ruling executive will be briefed on the decision when they meet today.

Cyril Weber, the veteran councillor who represents Harraby, said: “It’s going to be a great facility.

“It really is a fantastic project – not just for Harraby but for the whole city.

“There will be 3G pitches and five-a-side pens as well as the school, existing sports hall and theatre which are being refurbished.”

A decision on whether to grant planning permission for the project is expected to be taken by the county council later this month.

If the scheme is given the go-ahead, construction is set to start in the summer with a target date for completion in 2015.

The Harraby Community Campus will also be home to a new community centre.

Existing facilities such as the sports arena, arts theatre and BMX track are being retained and integrated into the new development. Other new features are poised to include a privately-run nursery catering for children from birth to three years old. There are also hopes that the sports arena and pitches can be further improved in tandem with the community hub development.

Supporters are delighted to have got to the point of applying for planning permission.

All the classrooms in the new school will have their own outdoor learning spaces, while the primary will also boast a wetland science investigation area. The school will eventually house 640 children as reception year groups grow and children move up through their primary education.

Other schools in the cluster of 11 in south Carlisle will also be able to use facilities in Harraby, which will be capable of hosting conferences for them and the wider community, with the theatre giving children a chance to showcase their productions to a wider audience.

Ideas from staff and pupils have been incorporated into the plans, which have also been pursued and pushed heavily by community action group Harraby Together We Can.

The school is expected to help cater for families living across Harraby, Carleton Grange and Parklands Village as well as those who may move to other proposed new housing developments.

County council leader Stewart Young is also excited by the project’s potential and says discussions are on-going about developing a number of facilities there.

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