The construction of two new primary schools in Nelson will take a major step forward next week with the laying of the foundation stones.
The multi-million projects will see a replacement £6.2 million Whitefield Infant School and nursery built on a site in Portland Street, while a new St Paul’s CE Primary School costing a similar sum will be built on the site of the former Edge End High School.
Both existing schools are currently more than filled to capacity and have been looking to move for several years.
The Whitefield school project was delayed for three years after two heritage groups objected to the demolition of terraced houses around the new school site, arguing for their retention until withdrawing an application for a judicial review last year.
The new St Paul’s project, meanwhile, was dogged by controversy with initial plans being made to relocate the school in Brierfield on the site of the old Mansfield High School – both outside of Nelson and the St Paul’s parish.
This upset parents, supporters and councillors. A campaign was launched to fight the plan which led to the decision being made in favour of the Edge End site.
Lancashire County Council has announced that the foundation stones for the two schools will be laid next week.
On Tuesday, the chairman of the council, County Coun. Michael Devaney, will lay the stone for the Whitefield School.
Also in attendance will be County Coun. Matthew Tomlinson, County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, County Coun. Nikki Hennessey, lead member for schools, County Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, member for Brierfield and Nelson North and Mrs Ethna Cummins, headteacher of 30 years’ standing.
The following day, County Coun. Devaney will again lay the stone for the new St Paul’s School at the Edge End site.
He will be accompanied by County Coun. Jennifer Mein, leader of the council, County Couns Tomlinson and Hennessey, County Coun. Azhar Ali, member for Nelson South, headteacher Mr Stephen Crook, Fr Philip Knowles, vicar of St Paul’s Church and the Rt Rev. John Goddard, the Bishop of Burnley, who will dedicate the stone once it is laid.
Both new schools are expected to open in September.