Foundations laid for new Gayton primary school as 10 year battle pays off
It's been years in the planning, but now, parents in a West Norfolk village can finally look forward to sending their children to a brand new school.
A ground breaking ceremony has been taking place today at the site of a long-awaited new primary and nursery complex in Gayton.
Pupils and staff joined contractors on site as foundations were laid for the new building, which is expected to cost around £6 million and is now hoped will be finished next summer.
The ceremony at the West Hall Farm site, off Springvale, comes nearly 18 months after planning permission for a 210 place primary school and a nursery for more than 50 pupils was granted.
The construction project has since been hampered by winter rains which forced contractors off site for a period earlier this year.
But executive headteacher Rachael Greenhalgh said they were sure the wait would all be worthwhile in the end.
She said: “As a school we are absolutely delighted that work has started on this project.
“Our fantastic staff team are all very excited about the opportunities this new building will create for our thriving school community.
“We have waited a long time for this build to finally get underway, but we are confident it will be worth the wait.
“It is great to see this kind of investment in a rural school in this part of West Norfolk.”
It's now almost a decade since the school, which is now part of the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) became an all-through primary.
Since then, a number of temporary buildings have been used at the school's current site on Lynn Road to accommodate pupils.
In 2015, county education chiefs unveiled plans to build a new school at the junction of Back Street and Winch Road, which eventually had to be scrapped because of flood risk concerns.
Proposals to develop the current site were unveiled in late 2019, with planning consent granted by Norfolk County Council in February 2020.
The new facility, which is being funded through Norfolk County Council and built by contractors Kier, will also offer a central library and a multi-use games area.
DNEAT chief executive Oliver Burwood said: “This will be an excellent resource for the children in the village and reflects the high aspirations we have for all children within the Trust.
“It is a culmination of nearly a decade of hard work from the headteacher to get this underway and we thank all those involved in what is going to be a fantastic new school.”
Kier operations director Dennis Cotton added: “We’re proud to mark the formal start of works on site here at Gayton Primary School and look forward to working closely with the school and Norfolk County Council for this stand-out project for the community.”