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Planning approval sought for new £34m Abbey Community College in Newtownabbey

The trustees of Abbey Community College in Monkstown have lodged a planning application with Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for a new £34m school building.

The proposed development at Threemilewater Playing Fields, Doagh Road, in Newtownabbey will provide a “modern purpose-built education facility” with classrooms to accommodate in the region of 820 pupils as well as sports facilities with associated hard and soft play areas, parking, landscaping, a dedicated parents’ drop-off and pick-up area and bus set-down area and staff parking on-site, according to a consultation that took place in November.

Sports facilities include plans for five tennis courts, three grass pitches and one synthetic sports pitch.

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The Department of Finance has given the go-ahead for the project based on the “preferred option” – to build a new post-primary school for Abbey Community College, on the site of the council-owned Three Mile Water Playing Fields.

Abbey Community College, Monkstown. Pic Google

It is hoped that the planned sports facilities will be available for the use of the local community. The council has said that it will work with the Education Authority to take the project forward.

The school is located at Bridge Road at present. It opened its doors to students in September 2015 on the site of the former Monkstown Community School following its merger with Newtownabbey Community High.

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson has welcomed news that Abbey Community College has submitted plans for a new school building on the Doagh Road in Newtownabbey.

Mr Dickson commented: “Abbey Community College is a very important institution in the local area, and I am pleased that progress in being made in building a new school, to ensure a modern learning environment for students.

“Although there is likely some time until the new building will be finished, I hope it can progress quickly through the planning system so that young people can take advantage of a new school building as soon as possible.”

Commenting in the Assembly in December, then Education Minister Michelle McIlveen, said: “It is anticipated that, subject to planning approval being granted and successful site acquisition, construction work on the new-build site will commence in 2023.

“The estimated construction period is 24 months with construction expected to be completed for the 2025-26 academic year,” she added.

“It is intended that following the school’s decant to the new building, the existing school building will be demolished. Thereafter, the Education Authority will consider the future use of the site.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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