An Isle of Wight town council has submitted its bid to retain a building that was once the heart of its community. 

The deadline for bids to buy the old Yarmouth C of E Primary School building, on Mill Road, from the Isle of Wight Council has now passed and it will now be for the authority to decide which bid it would like to go with.

Vying with interest from private developers, Yarmouth Town Council (YTC) last night (Tuesday) officially agreed it would throw its hat in the ring to own the site.

Speaking at the YTC meeting yesterday, Cllr Steve Cowley said councillors believe they have a moral case for getting the site after the Leigh family originally gave the buildings to the community of Yarmouth to provide education.

Isle of Wight County Press: A sign on the former Yarmouth School.A sign on the former Yarmouth School. (Image: Isle of Wight County Press)

Cllr Thomas Cowley said it is a regeneration project, which will try to rebalance Yarmouth and bring young families and people to help fill jobs and service roles in the town, like on the lifeboat or at the fire station.

In its masterplan, the steering group has outlined plans for eight affordable rented houses on the playground; a boat yard academy; an exhibition and study centre in the former school buildings and a scout and guide hut.

Isle of Wight County Press: Yarmouth Town Council's plans for the site. Picture by Andrew White Planning Consultancy.Yarmouth Town Council's plans for the site. Picture by Andrew White Planning Consultancy. (Image: Andrew White Planning Consultancy)

Yarmouth Mayor, Cllr Debbie McCLeary, said when they heard the school was first being sold there was no hope it would remain for the town's community, but looking at what the steering group was trying to achieve, it was reviving that hope.

The town council says the site could provide seven to 12 full-time equivalent jobs, including six apprenticeships at the boat yard, learning artisan boat building.

Cllr Steve Cowley reiterated to a packed audience at the Community Hall of Yarmouth and District, these were only possibilities for the site, as they did not own it yet nor have planning permission.

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If YTC's bid is successful, it would make the money to buy the site by setting up a community benefit society and allowing those who buy in to become shareholders.

The town council was successful in turning the former site into an asset of community value which would allow them more time, if successful in the bidding process, to raise the money needed to purchase the school and playing fields.

The school has been empty since December last year, after pupils moved to a new facility in Freshwater.