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Major step forward in plans for new £5 million primary school in Banbridge

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has granted planning permission for a range of temporary mobile classrooms in the grounds of St Patrick’s College, Scarva Road, Banbridge.

This will facilitate the transfer of pupils from the nearby St Mary’s Primary School site later this year to allow work to commence on a new school approved last year at the St Mary’s site.

Planning approval for the new St Mary’s Primary School, with an estimated investment of over £5 million, was granted in November 2013 and entails the demolition of the existing school premises in Reilly Park.

Mark H Durkan said: “This decision is good news for the teachers, parents and pupils of St Mary’s Primary School and positive news for Banbridge. When the temporary mobile classrooms are put in place, this will pave the way for construction of the new purpose-built modern school building that will benefit the area for many years to come.

“This is further evidence of my commitment to prioritising development proposals for community facilities and infrastructure. To assist the Department of Education’s tight deadline, the application for the mobile classrooms was prioritised and turned around in under two months – something I would applaud the local planning staff for. Once again this demonstrates that my planning reform agenda is delivering real change.”

Education Minister John O’Dowd also welcomed the approval of the mobile school buildings at the St Patricks site and said: “The St Mary’s Primary School project is one of 40 new school building projects I have announced over the past two years as part of a £350 million capital investment programme. The planning approval for the temporary mobile classrooms will allow this important building project to commence.

“This is example of Departments working together to deliver real improvements for local communities.”

It is estimated that the new-build comprising a 14 classroom school and nursery unit will take two and a half years to complete, with around 50-100 jobs created in the construction phase.

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