Campsite land set to become school
A FARMHOUSE and 16 acres of land within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, near Bideford, is the site of North Devon's first free school.
Steart Farm, in Bucks Cross, is where Route 39 Academy will be built once the site gets planning permission.
A public consultation is about to begin on the site which is currently being run as a campsite and caravan park by Robin and Lesley Croslegh.
The Education Funding Agency has secured the land, including the farmhouse, and the school will be a new build.
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Route 39 is working with the school's architect, Aedas, to produce a modern school which will complement the site's AONB position.
Sara Grimshaw, one of the school's governors, said: "For legal and financial reasons it has not been possible to name the site. We are therefore delighted to end the speculation.
"We are grateful to the team at the Education Funding Agency who have worked tirelessly to secure the best site for the school."
Head teacher Joss Glossop said: "This is potentially one of the most stunning locations of any school in the country.
"You can see right across Bideford Bay, and on a good day as far as the Gower Peninsular, in South Wales.
"It is such a beautiful, inspiring and uplifting location – we are extremely lucky to have found it."
While the planning process is under way, and the school is being built, the first intake of students will be in temporary buildings beside The Milky Way.
The temporary buildings are specially designed classroom units which are used regularly by schools while building projects are taking place.
The farmhouse is listed and will be part of the school, but not the main building.
The campsite will continue to operate as such until the end of this year's summer season which is when the first opportunity arises for any work on the school to begin.
It is unknown at this stage exactly when the building will start, but once it does it is expected it will take 18 months to complete.