10 October 2012
Construction work on a new school in Corby has been delayed because of the presence of great crested newts on the site.

Work has been halted on the site of the new primary school at Oakley Vale in Corby.

Councillor Andrew Grant, county council cabinet member for children, learning and skills, said: “There’s no denying that this is a setback but we appreciate the ecological significance of the situation. The presence of the newts means that we are not permitted to start work on site until Spring after the newts have been relocated.

“Our immediate challenge has been to come up with an acceptable Plan B for the school that doesn’t compromise the quality of education for the school’s pupils

“We will be refurbishing the former junior block at Exeter Primary School so even though the school won’t start off in the new building, it will still open as Corby Primary Academy sponsored by the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust.

“In order to make the temporary arrangements more manageable, we have decided that the new school will only open with 60 reception places and 30 places each in Years 1 and 2 but not the proposed Key Stage 2 children as originally envisaged.”

Great crested newts have declined dramatically in the last 40 years and although still widespread across lowland England they are now uncommon. Deterioration of habitat remains their biggest threat. The species is therefore protected by UK and European wildlife law, meaning that it is an offence to kill, injure or disturb them or damage their habitat.