Built at a cost of £1,100 on land donated by Miss Catherine Leigh, Yarmouth Church of England Primary School opened in 1854. 

It closed at the end of term in December 2022 and its pupils are being transferred to a new school building in Freshwater. 

The closure has been known for more than two years, so why are our local Isle of Wight county councillors and the Yarmouth Town Council only now asking what is to happen to the site?

Accurate information was almost entirely lacking at the well-attended public meeting on December 6, other than the fact that the site has not yet been offered for sale by the local authority, but with the expectation that it would be sold by July 2023. 

READ MORE: Residents want answers over Isle of Wight primary school future

There was no confirmation that the Portsmouth Diocese had already sold its interest in the site to the local authority, and it was suggested that a barrister should be retained to determine if the local authority had acted legally in removing the covenant on the site restricting its use for educational purposes.

  • Read more letters sent to the County Press here. Do you have a view on this or any other subject? Send us a letter – under 350 words if possible - to editor@iwcp.co.uk

Even if sufficient funds could be raised by an action group to retain a barrister and the covenant were to be re-imposed, which educational institution would be interested in acquiring the site and developing a financially sustainable business that could adapt the existing buildings for its own purposes and maintain them? 

Why not face the reality of the situation? 

The restrictive covenant will not be restored and the local authority will sell the site on the open market to the highest bidder.

This is the only brownfield site remaining within Yarmouth town. 

Surely it would be better to develop this for residential dwellings than other greenfield sites in the West Wight including Camp Road, Freshwater; Lee Farm, Wellow, and the ever-encroaching ribbon development westwards along the Alum Bay Road in Totland.

Yarmouth lost its “balanced” community with the sale of 20-plus council houses in the 1980s. 

The number of second homes is probably nearing 50 per cent of the total. 

Is it not within the power of the local authority to ensure that a significant proportion of new builds on the Yarmouth school site are reserved for local families at affordable prices?