10-classroom extension approved for Ballyclare’s Fairview Primary School

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A planning application for a 10-classroom extension at Fairview PS in Ballyclare was approved at a meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council’s Planning Committee last Monday evening.

Councillors were told the school comprises of the main school building, playing fields and nine temporary prefabricated mobile buildings.

A planning officer said a single storey extension will be linked to the main building by a glazed walk way and the mobile units will be removed from the site after completion.

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A report to the committee says: “The built form of the primary school currently consists of the main school building and nine mobile units, storage containers and shelter area with a mix of hard and soft play areas. The current proposal seeks to replace the existing temporary prefabricated buildings with the extension providing additional classrooms and flexible teaching accommodation. The proposed extension provides 10 additional classrooms with associated stores, shared cloakrooms and toilet, three resource areas with associated stores, one multi-purpose room, a vice-principal’s office, caretaker’s store and ancillary toilets and storage areas. The existing play provision will be replaced on the lands that currently comprise the existing temporary classrooms. There are no proposed changes to the existing parking/drop-off areas, crossing points or set-down areas. The proposal does not include any amendments to the existing car park arrangements.”

Artist's impression of the proposed single storey extension. Image supplied by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough CouncilArtist's impression of the proposed single storey extension. Image supplied by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
Artist's impression of the proposed single storey extension. Image supplied by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

The officer said there will be “no significant impact on amenity” for residents in the vicinity. There have been no objections to the proposal.

“The proposal is required to meet the immediate and pressing needs within the school environment. It is highlighted that the proposed pupil and staff numbers will remain as existing, that being 525 pupils and 50 staff,” the report also noted.

UU Cllr Stephen Cosgrove proposed accepting the recommendation to approve the application, seconded by deputy mayorSF Cllr Rosie Kinnear. Planning permission was granted after councillors voted unanimously to approve the extension application.

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Commenting after the meeting, Neil McAllister, principal, of Fairview PS, said: “This is another step along the way towards achieving what has long been sought by myself and two past principals. The 10 classroom extension will ensure all classrooms are under one roof, as well as providing much-needed space for activity and play-based learning, small group support and peripatetic teaching. As a thriving school, in one of the fastest growing towns in Northern Ireland, it is imperative we have the accommodation to meet the needs of all our pupils. This School Enhancement Programme (SEP) will give us the opportunity to provide even more for our school. We were excited to share plans with our school community earlier in the year and now it seems, provided capital funding is released by the Minister, that we can plan for the commencement of the project in June 2025. We anticipate contractors on site for 18 to 24 months and we will be doing all we can to minimise disruption for our own school community and local residents. It should be noted that the school extension will not lead to an increase in the overall enrolment number of 525.”