Increasing demand for school places leads to fresh talks

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EDUCATION bosses will look at how to cope with school places for increasing numbers of families in and around Spalding’s Wygate Park development.

Officers at Lincolnshire County Council are currently holding a consultation over plans which could affect how they meet the educational needs of those moving to the development.

The authority is asking for views on a request from developer Allison Homes Eastern Limited, which wants to change a planning agreement it made to help fund education on the site.

In 2003, the firm was given permission to build a residential estate, with a community centre, public open space, footpaths and cycleways.

Allison Homes also agreed to make education, school site maintenance and bus contributions, and pay towards improving the junction with Woolram Wygate.

Now the developer would like to change the size of the land originally put forward for a school and extend the repayment period for its £1.22million educational contribution.

According to the application form submitted by Allison Homes, the county council now has “lower requirements” for the area set aside to be used as a school.

It is asking for the school site to become one hectare of land, which is as “close as reasonably practical” to Spalding Primary School.

The application suggests the land could be used as a school playing field instead of a new school.

Alan Freeman, Lincolnshire County Council’s head of planning, said: “People living nearby will receive a letter from both the county council and district council notifying them to this proposal and how they can find out more details.

“This is because on this occasion both local authorities were involved in the planning agreement and are therefore required to consult with residents over any variation.

“The consultation period ends on September 29, 2011.”

The authority’s Debbie Barnes, who works as assistant director of children’s services, said local schools will be contacted to discuss how to provide more school places at Wygate Park after the consultation has closed. She added: “The proposed change to the S106 does not oblige the county council into any particular solution, it just gives more options. We want to hear the views of local schools.”