PLANS to build a new primary school in a village is expected to take a step forward next week.

Councillors are due to consider proposals to build an £8.2m school in Bowburn and amalgamate the village’s junior and infant schools.

People in the village have been campaigning for years to replace the junior school, which is more than 40 years old and suffers from flooding and damp.

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Bowburn independent councillor Jan Blakey, who is a governor at both schools, said: “It’s good news for the village. It’s an opportunity for us to get things right.

“A lot of people are concerned about what will happen to the old school but it’s reached the end of it’s shelf life really and we have to move on.”

The new building, which will have space for 540 children and a nursery with 140 places, will be built on the site of the junior school in Surtees Avenue and is due to open in September 2019.

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We are proposing a significant investment in the education of children in Bowburn, with a new build fit for the delivery of a first class curriculum for the 21st century.

“The infant and junior schools have both been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted and already work together closely. We firmly believe that a joining of their leaderships and the removal of the change between the sites at age seven can only enhance the already strong rates of learning and progress.

“We’re really pleased with the response we had to the consultation and that the vast majority of those who took part were in support of what we’re seeking to do.”

Bowburn is growing significantly as a result of house building in the area and the council expects there to be a rise in pupil numbers from 328 to 475 by 2030.

Around 97 per cent of people who took part in a public consultation on the proposals were in favour.

Durham County Council is trying to amalgamate junior and infant schools where possible across the county.