A former Isle of Wight primary school building will be put up for sale in the coming days but a community effort has unveiled its bid to save it for the town.

The Isle of Wight Council agreed yesterday (Thursday) to market the former Yarmouth CE Primary School on Mill Lane as it is now 'surplus to educational requirements'.

A Yarmouth Town Council (YTC) school site working party is pulling together a bid to keep the building in community use.

Cllr Steve Cowley, a member of the working party, said it is making good progress towards reclaiming the site and is looking to provide a number of uses the town and Isle of Wight Council are looking for.

He said that includes affordable housing; a site for a new Scout hut; an exhibition/educational museum; and a new facility for traditional boat building, which will train apprentices.

In a report, the Isle of Wight Council said it has not committed to any action yet but will consider all bids it receives by the end of the marketing period, which will be a minimum of four months.

Pupils moved out of the school building earlier this year after it relocated to the former Freshwater All Saints school site.

Isle of Wight County Press: The refurbished school in Freshwater.The refurbished school in Freshwater. (Image: Diocese of Portsmouth)

The council closed the Freshwater school in 2020 to cut the number of surplus pupils places in the West Wight.

The authority used £4.9 million in government funding, along with £575,375 from its own budget, to refurbish the school.

As part of the government funding, the Department for Education (DfE) required money from the sale of the Yarmouth school building go toward the refurbishment costs.

The council would retain the first £400,000 made from the sale but the rest would go to the DfE.

The authority said it invested money into the new school on the basis it would be reimbursed by selling the Yarmouth site.

The funding agreement is legally binding, the authority said, so it was obliged to sell the building.

The site cannot be leased, sold or used for any non-education use without first obtaining consent to do so from the Secretary of State and must achieve 'best consideration' for the property. To do so, the Isle of Wight Council will start a six-week public consultation.

YTC has successfully made the site an Asset of Community Value, which would allow a community group six months to see if they can raise the money to purchase the building if their bid is accepted.