A popular Isle of Wight attraction could be relocated and a centre of excellence for Maritime Archaeology created in a former primary school building, if a charity gets its way.

An alternative future for the Yarmouth Primary School site, on Mill Road, has been unveiled by the Yarmouth Community Foundation (YCF).

The charity is among those hoping to buy the school from the Isle of Wight Council, after the site became 'surplus to educational requirements' as the authority moved pupils to Freshwater. 

YCF — made from the Yarmouth-based Herapath Shenton Trust and the Maritime Archaeology Trust (MAT) — will explain more about its proposals for the school site at an opening meeting today (Tuesday, September 19).

Isle of Wight County Press:

Isle of Wight County Press:
Under its proposals, the Shipwreck Centre at Arreton Barns, which MAT currently runs, could be moved to the Yarmouth site.

It would then be an anchor tenant of the Yarmouth Community Foundation, a spokesperson said, to ensure sustainability by establishing a new leading centre of excellence for Maritime Archaeology in the UK. 

It would also work with partners to develop social housing (subject to planning permission), along with education, cultural, small enterprise and community group uses, including the Scouts and Guides. 

The community foundation has been created, a spokesperson said, for the express purpose of holding the former primary school for community and education use in perpetuity. 

If it is successful in purchasing the site, it would consult and work with members of the local community and the Island.

Isle of Wight County Press: The Maritime Archaeology Trust's Discovery Bus.The Maritime Archaeology Trust's Discovery Bus. (Image: Maritime Archaeology Trust)
An alternative bid has also been put forward by Yarmouth Town Council which was successful in making the school building an asset of community value.

The town council, if successful in purchasing the site, would look to turn the school building into an exhibition and study centre; eight affordable rented houses; a boat yard academy and Scout hut

It had been previously rumoured developers were looking to build flats on the site.

The open meeting held by the charity will start at 7pm at the Community Hall of Yarmouth and District. 

The MAT Discovery Bus will also be open for visitors on the Harbour Quayside, next to the Harbour Master's Office.