If the plans are approved, the new school, catering for 820 pupils, would be constructed at the Three Mile Water Playing Fields on the Doagh Road.
The post-primary school opened its doors to students in September 2015 on the site of the former Monkstown Community School following its merger with Newtownabbey Community High.
Confirming the business case has been approved, an Education Authority (EA) spokesperson said: “A full technical feasibility study, looking at a number of options, was developed by the EA and approved by the Department of Education in April 2020 authorising the EA to move forward to develop a business case for the project.
“A full comprehensive business case was developed by EA and issued to the Department of Education for review in October 2020. Following a thorough review of the business case, approval has been received from the Department of Finance to progress the project on the basis of the preferred option, to build a new post primary school for Abbey Community College, on the site of the Three Mile Water Playing Fields.
“Discussions have taken place and continue to be held with representatives from Antrim and Newtownabbey Council, the owners of the Three Mile Water site, in order for the proposed works and site to continue to provide community benefit in the local area.”
An Antrim and Newtownabbey Council spokesperson said: “Now that the EA has concluded its business case, the council will work with it to take this project forward.
“Until these discussions have progressed and due process has been followed, we are unable to add anything further at this stage, but hope that all of the planned sports facilities will be available for use by the local community.”
Work is now underway to submit a planning application for the project, which will commence with the Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) and will include a public consultation period. A PAN is required for a major or regionally significant development and is submitted prior to planning permission being sought. It sets out how the applicant will seek the views of the community on the proposed development.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers. Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.