Forge Integrated Primary School will be moving house after a development proposal for relocation was approved by the Department of Education.
The school has been waiting since October 2016 to hear the decision on three linked Development Proposals (DPs): to relocate the primary school and to add a nursery unit, an Autistic Spectrum Disorder Centre (ASDC) and a Learning Support Centre (LSC). Last week’s announcement only referred to the move. A decision on the other two proposals will follow in the very near future.
Forge IPS will move from its current South Belfast location to the site of the former Knockbreda High School, subject to the usual planning processes, in September 2019 or as soon as possible after that. A new school is to be built on the site at an estimated cost of £7.5 million, which will be funded through the Fresh Start Agreement.
In making his decision DE permanent secretary Derek Baker commented – “In some respects the more significant decision regarding this school has already been taken with the approval by a previous Minister to increase the school’s capacity. The requirement for a relocation is a natural outworking of the earlier DP. The options for relocation are limited, as evidenced by the business case process, and the former Knockbreda High School site would appear to be the most feasible option. I note the objections to this proposal, not least those relating to traffic issues, and it will be important for such matters to be addressed as part of the planning approval process.”
The school says the move is needed to accommodate its growing enrolment and to ensure that the facilities meet the needs of all pupils.
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