Newts to stay put at Corby school site until spring

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A colony of great crested newts which has delayed building work on a new Corby primary school will stay put at the site until spring next year.

Work on Corby Primary Academy has been held up since the discovery of the rare newts.

Instead of moving into their new school next September, pupils will now attend refurbished classrooms at the former Exeter Junior School until the academy is completed.

A meeting has been held for parents of prospective pupils to keep them up to date with the situation.

A spokesman for the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust, sponsors of the new school, said: “While this is an unfortunate setback, Northamptonshire County Council and the trust recognise the ecological significance of the situation. Great crested newts have declined dramatically in the last 40 years and although still widespread across lowland England, they are now uncommon. Deterioration of habitat remains their biggest threat. The species is therefore protected by UK and European wildlife law, meaning that it is an offence to kill, injure or disturb them or damage their habitat.

“The newts can’t be relocated until spring 2013, after the frost season, but it means that the county council can start working up the construction programme and complete the procurement process for the building contractor.”

In September 2013, four classrooms will be available in the refurbished former junior school buildings, along with a hall, dining facilities, office accommodation, play space and car parking.

The building and all its facilities will be completely separate from Exeter Primary School and will be staffed by trust teachers and support staff.

The accommodation will cater for 60 reception pupils, 30 places in Year 1 and 30 places in Year 2. Key Stage 2 pupils will be able to join the academy from September 2014.

The trust has started the process to appoint a principal for the new school.