Plans reveal how new Blackpool school will look

Artist's impression of Armfield Academy
Artist's impression of Armfield Academy
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New images have been revealed of how a multi-million pound new school for South Blackpool is set to look as the plans are submitted to the council.

The Armfield Academy will be built on three sites centered on the former Arnold School site in South Shore, where Blackpool FC and England legend Jimmy Armfield went to school.

Artist's impression of Armfield Academy

Artist's impression of Armfield Academy

If planning permission is granted it will provide 1,280 places for pupils ranging from two to 16-years-old, across a development of 13,715 sq m, plus playing fields and multi-use games areas.

The three storey school will be run by Fylde Coast Academy Trust which is already in charge of seven schools and the contract for the build is being led by Conlon Construction working with Chester-based Lovelock Mitchell Architects and NJL Consulting. Arnold School occupied the site between 1896 and 2012 but it has been vacant ever since.

FCAT Community Relations and Estates Lead John Topping said: “Everything is on course, the Section 10 consultation document is ready to be submitted to go alongside the planning application made this week and we are very much looking forward to getting on with the project.

“We have had a very positive reaction from the community, who are thrilled we are build a very impressive school as you can see from the drawings.

“We are working very hard on the curriculum planning ready for the first phased intake in September 2018.

“This is going to be the first all through school for the Blackpool South area, based on the successful Unity model.

“They will come into our school at two and come out at 16 with the benefit of not having to undergo transitions between different schools.

“And on that score we have Principal Chris Lickiss bringing his expertise from leading Unity to be the head.”

He said the FCAT board were very aware of the needs of the surrounding community and would be working hard to keep disruption to a minimum.

He said: “We appreciate that the site has been neglected and the grounds maintenance is very important to us.

“The borders and the shrubs are going to be well looked after and we will make sure the site is kept tidy and clean through the construction.”

The phased programme of works will start in autumn with the first student intake due in September 2018 and overall completion due in spring 2019.

The first pupils taken in will be 24 youngsters in its nursery, 60 in reception, and 160 in Year Seven.

The school was originally to be named Avenue Academy, but Fylde Coast Academy Trust bosses did a U-turn after a consultation showed 86 per cent of respondents backed honouring Jimmy Armfield for his contribution to Blackpool football and the local community.

John Hicks, design manager of Conlon Construction, said: “The school has been carefully designed to reflect the needs of Fylde Coast Academy Trust, whilealso ensuring an attractive, high-quality scheme which complements the character of the local area.

“The school will be a positive contribution to the education system within Blackpool, providing excellent facilities within a purpose-built development.”

Charlotte Wynn, of NJL Consulting, said: “The re-use of the site for education purposes is a fitting tribute to the site’s history and ensures a long -held tradition at Arnold Avenue is not lost, but is brought back and enhanced for future generations.”