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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Demolition of former school makes room for Harraby community 'hub'

Demolition is marking the end of an era as bulldozers move in to transform a community.

Harraby school demolition photo
Demolition work is well underway

While work continues in Harraby, Carlisle, civic leaders will soon reveal who will design and build a new £12 million-plus primary school and community hub on the site.

The former secondary school in Edgehill Road is being knocked down to pave the way for the new home of Pennine Way Primary School, changing the estate’s skyline.

The existing primary school is situated yards away on Silverdale Road.

The redevelopment of the secondary school site will also include a new community hub.

The building of the new primary school also forms part of Cumbria County Council’s wider measures to create more school places across Carlisle and Penrith.

While the bulk of the £12m for the scheme is coming from Cumbria County Council, £1.6m is being ploughed in over three years by Carlisle City Council to cover its share.

Cumbria County Council leader Stewart Young said:“The county and the city councils have to have a finance agreement and that is being sorted and hopefully it will be signed off this week.

“It means then we can go ahead and appoint the contractor who will design and build it.

“The demolition has been a separate contract which is why it is moving on quite well up there. It is an exciting time.”

The Harraby Together We Can community group has played a major role in calling for the land to be put to good use and not to be sold for housing.

Chairman Jacquie Dalgliesh said: “It is exciting for the community here, the children and the future.

“This is something that will affect everyone around it, not just Harraby but also the communities on Carleton Grange at the back of the site and the Parklands.”

The Edgehill Road site will retain its sports and theatre facilities.

It is hoped the nearby community centre will also move onto the complex, which will have improved library, family support and other facilities.

There will be four rooms for community activities, a cafe, sports hall and soft play area, plus a floodlit outdoor sports pitch.

Pennine Way Primary School boasts a popular community development centre too, running adult literacy, computing and other courses for residents.

The Edgehill Road site where demolition is taking place was home to Harraby Secondary School, which opened in 1954.

It later became Harraby School when comprehensives were introduced in the late 1960s.

Following a shake-up of county council schools in 1992, in which many secondaries went grant-maintained to avoid closure, it ceased to be a school in 1994.

It instead became one of the government’s first specialist technology colleges, changing its name to North Cumbria Technology College (NCTC). It was backed by government cash and a partnership with local businesses and sponsors.

NCTC closed in July 2008 to pave the way for another form of new school as one of Carlisle’s first academies.

The site was home for staff and 11 to 16-year-old pupils of the Richard Rose Central Academy until the end of 2010, when they relocated to the academy’s £31m permanent home on the old site of St Aidan’s School in Lismore Place.

When the Edgehill Road site was given back to the county council, a deal was struck allowing Carlisle College to be housed there while its own £10m rebuild was taking shape at its Victoria Place campus.

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