ASHURST Primary School will be demolished after St Helens Council’s cabinet agreed to press ahead with a £6 million redevelopment.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service reported in May 2018 that council chiefs had agreed in principle to redevelop the maintained school, in New Glade Hill, Blackbrook.

On Wednesday, cabinet approved a capital project to construct a new school on the existing site along with associated demolition of the current buildings.

The estimated total cost of the proposed new build scheme is £6.022 million (including fees).

However, £150,000 has already been expended during 2018-19 to progress the design and evaluation work that has been undertaken to date.

Therefore, cabinet were asked to approve budget provision totalling £5.872 million from the current Developing Young People capital programme.

Cabinet also agreed to the submission of a planning application during the pre-construction phase, and ahead of final costs being confirmed, to minimise any potential delays.

A cabinet report says one of the reasons for the redevelopment is due to a “significant structural problem” that is seeing water leaking through the original precast concrete roof panels.

The report says this is impacting the day to day operation of the school.

Additionally, the report says the existing premises are considered to be “no longer suitable for the delivery of a modern curriculum”.

“The existing classrooms are undersized compared to recommended standards, leading to cramped accommodation,” the report says.

“The hall is smaller than recommended making whole school/wider school community activities difficult and there is a lack of appropriate circulation routes.”

An option to partially rebuild and modernise the existing school was considered and is estimated to cost in the region of £5.575 million.

However, it is the view of the council that the new build option represents the best value out of the two options.

The cabinet report says: “Whilst this option is potentially more expensive, depending on the extent to which temporary accommodation is required, it will result in a newly constructed asset rather than one containing the legacy of a 1970’s structure, that potentially may present problems in future years.”

The final design details will be agreed in consultation with the governing body and head teacher of Ashurst Primary School.

The report says the current school will be “largely unaffected” by the construction of the new school on the existing playground.

Upon completion, the school would then relocate into the new facility with demolition of the old buildings progressing.

Welcoming the move, St Helens Council leader David Baines said: “It’s great news for Ashurst School and the school community there.

“I’m sure they’ll all be very happy. They’ve put up with conditions which aren’t good enough for far too long.”