MULTI-MILLION-POUND plans to merge a primary school into a single building are being considered by Poole council.

Redevelopment of Hillbourne Primary School’s site, described as being “long overdue” by its headteacher, has been put forward as the best option to address the poor condition of its two existing buildings.

A draft business case proposes constructing about 100 houses on the school’s grounds to help subsidise the estimated £9m cost of the work.

Hillbourne Primary School’s two buildings are a legacy from the merger of Hillbourne Community Middle and Hillbourne Community First schools in 2006.

But the school’s headteacher said that the set-up does cause problems.

“Being split across two buildings doesn’t really suit our needs and this has been a long time coming,” Helen Roderick said.

“If you ask anyone who lives in this area then they will tell you the same thing.

“As much as we work very hard to counteract some of the difficulties of being in two separate buildings, some are unavoidable.

“It’s very expensive to heat two buildings and then we also have extra costs such as having two sets of lunch supervisors.

“We have been waiting for a very, very long time and it’s very exciting to see plans reach this stage.”

Published ahead of next week’s meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, the project’s draft business plan estimates that the income from the two housing developments - which could be up to £4.6m - would go towards covering the £9m cost of the school project.

This is an estimated £2m less than the 25-year cost of maintaining the school’s existing buildings.

Councillor Mike White, cabinet member for children and young people at Poole council, said: “We have been working very closely with the school on the recommended plans.

"The current school buildings are no-longer fit-for-purpose and would require significant investment to bring them back up to standard.

"We believe the proposed single new building will not only provide modern and purpose built facilities for staff and pupils but will also contribute to the improved educational outcomes for our young people.”

A new facility for Twin Oaks Nursery is also proposed as the pre-school will be forced to relocate with the demolition of the Waterloo Youth Centre included in the project.

After being considered by the overview and scrutiny committee next week, the proposals will go to the council’s cabinet at the end of the month with the aim of a planning application being submitted in December.

Both the new school building and residential areas would then be completed by the end of October 2021, according to the plans.