Education trust could run both the new school and community centre on Corby estate

Priors Hall Park in Corby

Priors Hall Park in Corby

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An education trust could run both the new community centre and primary school for a major housing development when they open later this year.

The developers behind Priors Hall Park in Corby have to provide educational and community facilities as part of the Section 106 contributions agreed when planning permission was given.

The sod-cutting for the new school last year

The sod-cutting for the new school last year

A variation to the Section 106 in 2013 allowed for BeLa Partnership Ltd to build a combined new primary school, nursery and community centre, with planning permission for the facilities agreed in July 2014 and construction started in June 2015.

The aim was to have all the facilities completed by June this year ready for the intake of new pupils in September.

The school and community centre were designed to allow shared used permitting a wider flexible space and dual usage.

However, this has meant a change in how the school, nursery and community centre can operate without compromising the safeguarding of children using the school and nursery if the community centre is open at the same time.

Members of Corby Council’s One Corby Policy Committee discussed how the centre will be managed long-term at a meeting on Tuesday night.

The two options were either to devolve the community centre to local residents or be managed in-house by Corby Council, or the Woodnewton Trust, which will be running the school, to also run the community centre.

A report considered at the meeting said: “The options have been limited due to the design of the building and the safeguarding issues.

“The Priors Hall Park Residents Association Committee have confirmed that they would agree to the community centre being managed by the Woodnewton Trust as long as a robust community use agreement could be established.

“If this is acceptable to the council, the preferred option would be to lease the community centre for 125 years to Woodnewton Trust.

“This would limit the council’s financial commitment to £15,000 set up costs and £30,000 support over three years towards operation costs.

“Legal safeguards would be put in place to ensure if the trust was unable to keep to the conditions the community centre would revert back to the council.”

The committee was recommended to approve the Woodnewton Trust managing the community centre and in agreeing to the first recommendation, the trust is provided with a 125-year lease with includes an agreed community use agreement, a capital grant of £15,000 towards fitting out the centre in 2016/17 and a revenue grant of £10,000 in 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19.

The recommendation was approved in principle.

However, councillors said they would like further discussion about the management of the centre so this will be done at a meeting in the near future.