Plans submitted for redevelopment of St Gemma's school in north Belfast

The former St Gemma's High School site in Ardoyne, north Belfast

PLANS have been submitted for major development at the former site of St Gemma's High School in north Belfast.

The Flax and ABC Trust are behind the proposals, which would see the demolition of the existing school buildings to make way for a community-led mixed use regeneration scheme. According to the application this includes the erection of a 'community hub', comprising five retail units and 54 homes. The scope of the redevelopment also includes the refurbishment of the neighbouring Flax Centre to provide business incubation space and education facilities. Landscaping work as well as additional parking and public also form part of the development application.

Previously a local residents group had called for the former school site to be used for the provision of health, leisure and well being facilities.

The Flax Centre currently contains a shopping mall, supermarket, health centre and houses the Ardoyne/Shankill Healthy Living Project.

The site of the all-girl St Gemma's High School on Ardilea Street has been derelict since the school closed in 2013. In 2015 church authorities in Down and Connor diocese handed the keys of the site over to the Flax Trust following consultation with the community. As part of the deal the Flax Trust agreed to carry out its own consultation on the future of the site.

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