When the former Gurnard Primary School in Hilton Road moved to the old Solent Middle School site in Baring Road, the old site became surplus to requirements.
Following much speculation of what might happen to the site, a consultation was held at the school with proposals for what we call the “buildings site”, which basically is to demolish the school buildings, including the pre-school building and swimming pool block, and replace them with 7 housing units – plans given are below.
This eventually became the subject of an outline planning application, which was approved in October 2011, with no objection from the Parish Council.
What interested the Parish Council was the former school’s open spaces – the Parish Council consulted widely with the community in 3 separate consultation exercises to see if the idea of gaining an asset transfer of the playing field and school orchard areas to use as community amenities would be supported. In short the response was overwhelmingly supportive, with only one objection to the idea! A couple of pictures of the sites are below:
Consultations took the form of 2 separate questionnaires, which were circulated to each house and promotion of the consultation also took place at some community group events. The 3rd consultation was carried out at Gurnard Primary School, and a presentation was given at assembly to explain some options for use of the open spaces and then the pupils, guided by the teaching staff, worked on a project to create ideas in model and picture formats, before setting up an exhibition of the findings at another assembly. Their work was quite stunning to put it mildly, and they came up with some great ideas on a very similar theme to ideas supported already by the community- some pictures of the exhibition are below:
Negotiations with the landowners and IW Council were held with the Open Spaces Project working group to work out a way forward, to enable the sites to be kept for community use and at the end of August 2014, the lease was signed by both parties and the key to the padlock handed over to the Parish Council.