In the heart of Old Swan, a historic corner of Liverpool, the future of education is taking a significant leap forward. Liverpool Council is poised to dispose of a portion of a former fruit and vegetable market site on Prescot Road, making way for a modern primary school facility. The decision comes as a response to long-standing concerns about the safety and suitability of the existing St Anne (Stanley) Primary School, which has served the community since 1915.
Last August, the local authority declared the current St Anne site as surplus to requirements, sparking discussions about its future. The site, a vast parcel of land, has been a subject of ongoing debate, with the city council’s cabinet now leaning towards approving the allocation of a section to the trustees of St Anne (Stanley) Primary School for the construction of a new building.
The urgency for this move stems from the deteriorating condition of the existing school, deemed “totally unsuitable” for primary school children due to its dilapidated state. A comprehensive condition survey conducted in October 2021 found the primary school building structurally unsound, prompting the need for immediate action.
As part of a broader initiative falling under the Department for Education (DfE) schools rebuilding programme, the proposed plan involves transferring the current St Anne site to the council for future redevelopment. Simultaneously, the trustees of St Anne (Stanley) Primary School would receive a designated portion of the former fruit and vegetable market land on Prescot Road.
The vacant plot in Old Swan, measuring 0.8 hectares, is currently earmarked for housing. The new school, recommended for construction on the eastern section of this land, offers a fresh start for both educators and students alike. The cabinet report emphasizes that the existing land incurs annual holding costs, including security and maintenance, without generating revenue for Liverpool Council.
In a bid to ensure the safety of the current school building, 543 internal structural props were installed, funded by the Diocese of Liverpool. However, these temporary measures are set to expire in September of next year, just before the anticipated completion of the new school in January 2026. The Diocese is actively conducting regular surveys to monitor the building’s safety, facilitating teaching and learning until the handover to the new facility.
The proposed transfer of sites between the council and the Diocese involves a nil consideration, highlighting the community-centric nature of the project. The eastern section of the former market land will host the new primary school, while the remaining site is retained by the council for potential future housing development, subject to mines and minerals rights and further legal investigation.
If approved, construction on the new school is slated to commence in October next year, with a 14-month building period concluding in December 2025. The potential transformation of the St Anne (Stanley) Primary School not only addresses immediate safety concerns but also aligns with a broader vision for enhancing educational facilities and fostering a positive learning environment in the community.
Liverpool Council’s cabinet is set to deliberate on these plans next Tuesday, marking a pivotal moment for the residents of Old Swan and the future generations who will benefit from a state-of-the-art educational institution. As the city navigates this significant development, the collective hope is for a seamless transition towards a brighter educational future in Old Swan.