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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 12:23 GMT
City academy plans are approved
Irvine Laidlaw
Lord Irvine Laidlaw is sponsoring the new academy
Plans for a 20m city academy in Newcastle have moved a step further, with the approval of a planning application for the complex.

Newcastle City Council wants to close West Gate Community College and replace it with the academy in Scotswood.

On Friday, city councillors approved an outline planning application for the 1,800-pupil site.

Lord Irvine Laidlaw, who is sponsoring the academy, welcomed the move. The site is expected to open in 2008.

The outline application covers the siting and access for the academy and sets out the principles for the development.

Detailed application

Lord Laidlaw, who is providing 2m for the academy, said: "I'm very pleased with this decision and we're on track for the academy to open in September 2008.

"There is still a lot of work to be done and we are now preparing a detailed planning application."

Sports pitches will be on the upper part of the site and the school building will be no higher than three storeys, with cycle access, drop off points and parking incorporated on the site.

Students attending West Gate Community College, which is scheduled to close in July 2008, will transfer to the Academy.

Some trade unions have expressed concerns about the plans because of fears about private investment in education.




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