A £6 MILLION plan to replace one of Hucknall’s most historic schools has taken giant strides towards reality.
The ambitious scheme would mean a fresh future for Beardall Street Primary, which is currently based in a cramped, Victorian building.
It is understood the new school would be part of the Wigwam Lane playing fields development.
But despite this, one Hucknall councillor says the development is too late for generations of youngsters who have been “let down”.
Notts County Council is currently developing a design brief for a 420-place school for Beardall Street Primary and is hoping to be able to apply for detailed planning permission in the next two or three months.
While welcoming the news, Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of the county council, said children should not have had to wait so long for the project to get to this stage.
Coun Murphy has been lobbying for a new school for the town for nearly two years. He said he could not understand why new premises had not been built before now to accommodate the additional demand created by a number of housing developments in Hucknall.
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“What really frustrates me about all this is that we have been severely let down with education and schools because Hucknall has seen a number of massive housing developments but in 35 years, we’ve never seen one new school,” Coun Murphy added.
“There must have been classrooms added onto classrooms in schools which are already overcrowded.
“We really do need to build a new school. Although Beardall Street has been a very nice school and is in a very nice old building, it is past its sell-by date. The children of Hucknall deserve a more up-to-date school.
“The last administration at County Hall has failed Hucknall.
“But overall, I’m looking forward to it (the new development) and it’s not before time.”
A county council spokesperson said: “Outline planning permission for the development was obtained nearly seven years ago and includes provision for the council to build a bigger 420-place replacement school for Beardall Street.
“This will also accommodate the increased number of children who will need a primary-school place as the Papplewick Green housing development (off Wigwam Lane) progresses further towards completion.
“The new school will be built partially on the old Beardall Street detached playing field. A design brief for the new school is currently being developed and we expect to be able to apply for detailed planning permission in the next two to three months.
“Assuming permission is granted, we would be looking to start building as soon as possible, with the aim of the new school opening by September 2014 or perhaps even earlier.”
Kevin Hollingworth, chairman of governors at Beardall Street, said the school currently had 210 pupils but there were no firm plans for the development on the table as of yet.
He added: “Development is at an early stage and we are working on plans to relocate Beardall Street Primary and Nursery school to a site off Papplewick Lane.
“We would hope to work towards increasing capacity at the school but obviously what we are going to do is work with the size of the school that we have. We don’t have any firm plans from the council as yet.”
A question mark remains against what will happen to the historic Beardall Street School when it is vacated.
Hucknall local history bursar Maureen Newton said she would like to see the building retained for some future use because it was such an iconic landmark in the town.
In his book, ‘Hucknall — Of Lowly Birth and Iron Fortune’, Eric Horriben said the school — built in 1872 at a cost of about £2,000 — was probably the first board school in Nottinghamshire and one of the first in the country.