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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Plans drawn up for expansion of Carlisle school on display

Concerns about congestion will be explored as plans are drawn up to extend a Carlisle school.

Kingmoor school graphic
An aerial view of how the school could look

About 50 people attended an exhibition this week into proposals for Kingmoor Nursery, Infant and Junior schools in Lowry Hill.

The plans for the nursery and infants school would see two extra classrooms built plus internal alterations to increase the number of pupils accommodated from 180 to 225. The junior school would also see two extra classrooms built – increasing its capacity from 240 to 300 places.

Cumbria County Council approved proposals earlier this year to expand the capacity of the schools to meet increasing demand for places.

Those plans were viewed by children, parents and teachers.

Questions were also put to the team behind the scheme.

The main concern raised was about traffic congestion, with some people saying that there are already problems even before any possible expansion.

Council officials said that that a transport consultant had been employed to analyse the issue and to look at any measures that could be taken to ease worries.

They confirmed a travel plan would be developed in conjunction with a planning application, due to be submitted shortly.

A council spokesman said: “The exhibition was a good opportunity for parents, teachers and local residents to find out what’s being proposed, ask questions and raise any concerns about the development before we make the formal planning submission.

“The expansion of Kingmoor Nursery and Infant and Junior schools will help meet the increased demand for places, giving parents a better chance of getting their child into the school they want in this area of Carlisle,” aded the spokesman.

“Expansion is the option that has been progressed rather than amalgamation as expansion is what parents and the local community told us they wanted in the consultation.”

A proposal to merge the two schools was dropped earlier this year and instead it was decided that they will expand, but remain separate.

Pressure for places was put on the Kingmoor schools following the closure of Belah School, which was fiercely opposed by the families of children who went there.

Councillor Alan Toole, who represents Belah on the county council, was among those who attended Monday’s consultation.

He remains frustrated the closure of Belah has contributed to school places problems in the north of Carlisle and wonders whether an increase in housing developments in the area would mean further pressure in years to come.

But he said: “I am pleased to see something’s happening.

“I think what’s going on will alleviate the problems, but we will have to see if they come around again.”

Councillor Duncan Fairbairn, responsible for schools with the county council, told councillors in January that the plans had largely been welcomed by parents and “only a very small minority” favoured amalgamation.

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