Work on a new school to ease Bridgwater’s school place pressures reached a landmark earlier this month.
Construction of the steel frame of the new Northgate Primary School is nearing completion and Councillors joined representatives from contractor Kier Construction for a bolt-tightening ceremony to celebrate this important milestone.
As demand for primary school places in Bridgwater continues to soar, the much-needed school is set to open ready for the September 2017 academic year. It will open initially with a reception class, nursery, and artificial playing pitch, eventually growing over time to provide a 14 class primary school in the area.
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “I’m very pleased to celebrate this important step forward in the construction of the new school and I look forward to the school opening next year.
“When we talk about the pressing need for additional primary school places in central Bridgwater, the figures really do speak for themselves. In October 2009, 4,614 children were attending primary schools in Bridgwater; by 2014 this number had risen by 20 per cent to 5,562. In short, the town is growing, and will continue to do so as local housing developments, and the Hinkley Point C power station project move forward.”
Cllr Peter Downing, Portfolio Holder for Infrastructure at Sedgemoor District Councillor, said: “This is a very welcome milestone in the revival of the Northgate site, which is owned by Somerset County Council and Sedgemoor District Council. We have worked together to maximise its value and benefit to the community and this is the first step in realising this. As we move into more active marketing of the rest of the site, may I congratulate Somerset County Council on this ‘first step’ and wish the school a very successful future.”
David Snell, Operations Director Kier Construction, Western and Wales, said: “It is wonderful to see so many people gathered today to mark this occasion and see the steel frame taking shape. This is a significant milestone for Bridgwater’s new primary school and during the build programme we will be working with the local community to provide employment skills opportunities and learn about careers in construction. I’m sure the new school will have some budding engineers of the future, and we very much look forward to the doors opening in September 2017.”
The Northgate school development officially received the green light in July 2016 when Sedgemoor District Council’s Development Committee approved the plans. The development is situated on the Northgate site, which is jointly owned by the councils, who have worked collaboratively on the planning of the site.
The finished school will incorporate a memorial close by to commemorate the old Bridgwater Hospital.