Despite requests from my Department, the Landlord involved did not want to extend the lease so that the school to which the Deputy refers could remain on their land past the current academic year 2018/2019. They had required my Department to confirm that the school would vacate the property at end June 2019. Clearly, my Department could not give such confirmation as alternative interim accommodation for the school was not available in the current area. My Department had much engagement with the Landlord in relation to extending the leasing arrangement at this property. In this regard my Department had requested the Landlord’s consent to extending the lease to 31st August, 2020 to facilitate the school remaining in interim accommodation at this location until the end of the 2019/2020 school year by which time the permanent accommodation for the school would be ready. Unfortunately it was not possible to get the Landlord’s agreement to this lease extension. Following protracted negotiations with the Landlord, agreement was reached for the school to remain in interim accommodation at its current location until the end of January 2020. The Landlord has indicated that it is not possible to extend the lease beyond this date.
My Department is examining alternative interim accommodation options for re-locating the school pending delivery of its permanent school building.
The site acquisition process for the school is now complete. A planning application for the permanent accommodation for the school was lodged in January 2019. A request for additional information received from the local authority was responded to on 26 April 2019 and a decision is awaited. The timeframe for delivery of the school will be dependent on the grant of planning permission.
Officials in my Department will continue to keep the school authority updated on progress.