Newtownabbey school unveils ambitious development plans
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The proposal seeks to redevelop the post-primary integrated school at the existing site at 70 Whitewell Road, Newtownabbey. The proposal includes the demolition of a number of existing buildings and the development of a new school campus building, a new sports pitch, outdoor play areas, car parking and landscaping.
It will also include the retention and refurbishment of the existing listed building (Graymount House) and other associated site works, including a temporary mobile village during the construction process.
The plans state that the listed building will be “integrated into the master plan in a prominent position” and that it will “remain at the heart of the school.”
The proposals also outline that the objectives and high-level benefits of the project are “to encourage, facilitate and support shared education, to deliver an educationally sustainable school and to deliver a high-quality education facility which is modern, fit for purpose and meets all Departmental recommendations and statutory requirements.”
Responding to the Newtownabbey Times, the school’s principal Máire Thompson, said the school is in “desperate need” of redevelopment.
She explained: "It is very welcome that we have this opportunity for a new school.
"We are delighted we are at the planning application and public consultation stage.
"There is a lot of uncertainty with funding and finances due to the lack of Stormont but we are hoping the plans will come to fruition in the next few years for the benefit of the children of north Belfast.
"We have been awarded UK School of the Year in 2022 and our performance outcomes this year are in the top two per cent. The students deserve a fully-resourced school so that they can continue to avail of the excellent standard of education.
"The school was built for 700 students and we now have 1,100. For a school this size to have no sporting facilities at all is not good. We deserve a school fitting of our numbers.”
The Whitewell Road school opened an online public consultation portal on Thursday, November 9, with the local community invited to share their opinions on the plans before the feedback facility closes on Thursday, November 30.
To view the plans, or to provide feedback, visit https://hazelwoodconsultation.com/