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Holywood Bids For £12M School Scheme

26-07-2010

A major school rebuilding plan in North Down has reached a crucial stage today with plans officially submitted for the building project.

However, Holywood's long awaited £12.5 million superschool project will now depend on the availability of funds from the Stormont Executive after the South Eastern Education and Library Board submitted the plans today.

The Education Minister, Catriona Ruane, has already said, the availability of the cash will dictate when any such developments actually get underway.

It is also reported that planners have voiced their approval for the multimillion pound proposal for both Holywood and Redburn Primaries, Holywood Nursery and the Priory Integrated College.

Although the plan would be a massive boost for the beleaguered construction industry - which has been broadly supported by the Stormont Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson - it will be funds that will ultimately decide the future of all school rebuilds province wide.

Politicians on North Down Borough Council will hear the planning application for Holywood's new superschool project in early August - and when it reaches that stage - it will do so with the tacit approval and full recommendation from the Planning Service.

It is expected that North Down Borough councillors will vote in favour of the three schemes which would then be returned to the planners for the final part of the decision making process.

The Education Minister has said that she does not have the budget to fund as many new school buildings, as she would like to.

Caitriona Ruane told the Stormont Assembly last month that she has made decisions on which of the 69 school applications are to get the go ahead for new buildings to be constructed.

She said most have been approved, some have been told to do extra work with the possibility of being approved, and some have been turned down.

If all of the plans were given the go-ahead, it could cost around £500m, but she said the money is simply not there.

"If additional funds are not allocated to Department of Education for capital build projects then I fear a delay on commencing these schools for some months is inevitable," she said.

 

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