New school to be built in Co Antrim countryside

A new primary school is to be constructed on the rural outskirts of Ballymena.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 2:54 pm
Artist's impression of new school

The project was given the go-ahead by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday.

It is located in Martinstown, a village and townland several miles to the north of the town.

DUP councillor Audrey Wales (who chairs the planning committee and also represents Ballymena town on the council) told the News Letter: “I’m absolutely delighted to see this – so pleased it got approval.

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“I think young people deserve the best and most-up-to-date facilities.”

The new school (which will be a Catholic one) will have nine classrooms and will cater for 250 pupils.

The plan has arisen due to the amalgamation of two existing primary schools: Glenravel and St Mary’s.

According to the planning documents, the new building will be a “fit-for-purpose modern primary school” and will be “a real investment in education”.

Planning officials had recommended giving it the go-ahead so long as work begins within five years, a traffic safety audit is done, and a string of other technical conditions.

Planning documents state that during the consultation “there was overwhelming support for the proposed school development from both local residents and parents, to local councillors and school representatives”.

SDLP councillor for Ballymena Eugene Reid said that the two existing schools had already been amalgamated and for some time had been operating across two separate sites – both of which had been assessed as “not fit for purpose” about a decade ago.

He said he had worked with the schools to turn the current plans into reality and described the green light for building to commence as “a fantastic news story for the area”.

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