COMMUNITY groups are making good use of a closed former Skipton school while a decision is made about its long term future, which could see it being used once again for its original purpose.

Ings Community Primary School in Broughton Road, shut two years ago, at the end of 2017 with just one pupil on its roll, despite it having capacity for 84.

It had been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in 2013, and as ‘requiring improvement’ in 2014 and in 2016, despite the support of North Yorkshire County Council, which deployed very experienced staff and governors.

County councillor Andy Solloway, ward member for Skipton West, said it was important to make sure the building remained in use and added that people still questioned why it had been closed, especially now when so many new houses are being built in Skipton.

“It is also very important that both the county council and Craven District Council make sure that they get every available contribution towards school places from housing developers, now that Craven’s Local Plan is approved,” he said.

Judith Kirk, assistant director education and skills, for the county council, said: “We want to maximise suitable community use of the site of the former Skipton Ings Community Primary School in the interim before making a decision about its future.

“Some community groups were using the site prior to its closure and remain active. Others are new users that we have been pleased to accommodate more recently. In addition, our Adult Learning and Skills Service has delivered classes from the building.

“There is the possibility that the site could once again be used to deliver primary education, but this will depend on future decisions linked to the location and volume of housing growth in Skipton.”

When a decision was made to consult on the school’s closure, it was facing a financial deficit of £117,000 at the end of 2018/19, rising to £249,000 in 2019/20.