Leading Cumbrian businessman Fred Story has revealed his housing company is looking at whether it could help pay for a new school in north Carlisle.

Mr Story says contributing to a new development at Windsor Way may be one alternative to creating a school at Story Homes’ landmark Crindledyke development.

The first 200 homes have been completed in the potential 850-property scheme to the north of the city.

And, before any more can be built, conditions linked to outline planning permission secured in 2012 mean that a school for children living at Crindledyke needs to be built.

Story Homes has already attempted to make moves on that front, but a bid spearheaded by the firm to create a free school was knocked back by the Government.

Now, as detailed proposals for the next phase of Crindledyke are being prepared, Mr Story has revealed that his company is exploring other options – moves which may fit into a bigger picture of efforts to tackle school places pressures amid a building boom in north Carlisle.

Mr Story, the chief executive and chairman of Story Homes, said: “Story Homes is continuing to explore how best to support education for children living in our development at Crindledyke.

“Over the last seven years, we’ve explored opportunities to bring forward a school at Crindledyke, including an application to the Department for Education to create a free school using land and buildings provided by us.

However, the DfE deemed this school to be in an unsustainable location.

“We are now exploring with Cumbria County Council how the education contribution from Crindledyke can be best used to support education provision in north Carlisle, whether that is in finding a new way to deliver a school at Crindledyke, supporting existing schools in the area or contributing to a new school being proposed by the county council at Windsor Way.”

Children living at Crindledyke already attend the likes of Rockcliffe Primary School, helping towards its sustainability.

But, since that scheme was given the go-ahead, a string of other major developments in the north of the city have been granted approval.

They include Story Homes 172-home scheme at Aspen Grange, Kingstown, as well as Persimmon Homes’ 276 properties at Tarraby View.

Still awaiting permission is the 200-home development next to Aspen Grange by Gleeson Homes, and a proposal submitted last week for 71 homes off Kingmoor Road close to the bypass.

Pressure on school places in north Carlisle has been a contentious issue since the heavily-disputed closure of Belah School in 2008.

The suggestion of a new school at Windsor Way emerged in the City Council’s Local Plan, published in 2015 to guide Carlisle’s development up to 2030.

Whether that school could be the solution to supporting Crindledyke – or whether further support could be given to existing schools - is a question that some education, business and community figures are understood to be curious about exploring.

Mr Story said: “It is in the best interests of Story Homes to ensure that the best possible education provision is achieved in north Carlisle as this is consistent with the values of our business in supporting our local community, as well as making our houses more attractive to prospective buyers.”

Cumbria County Council, as the local education authority, is monitoring the places pressures in the north of the city.

A spokeswoman said: “The provision of a school was a condition of the successful planning application at Crindledyke and a legal agreement exists to enable this between Story Homes and Carlisle City Council as the planning authority.

“Any change to the existing planning consent at Crindledyke would need to be negotiated between Story Homes, the county council and the city council.

“However, Cumbria County Council welcomes Story Homes’ comments and we will work with them to arrive at a mutually agreeable position which meets the needs of the people of Carlisle regarding school places.”

As the planning authority responsible for deciding on developments in the city, Carlisle City Council were unable to comment.