Annexe answer to school crisis

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AN ANNEXE to Spalding Primary School has been revealed as the preferred option to cope with growing pressure on places.

Last week the Spalding Guardian revealed that “all options”, including building a new school, were still on the table to provide an extra 210 primary places for four-year-olds.

Many of those places will be needed to cater for children living or moving in to the growing Wygate Park and The Hayfields developments.

The local education authority had been forced to go back to the drawing board after plans to expand Spalding Primary School were turned down earlier this year.

An annexe school, which would be built on a separate site on the Wygate Park housing development, would share a management team and other resources with Spalding Primary School.

But it is hoped it would not receive the objections from local residents over traffic and parking issues which dogged the original expansion plans and eventually spelled their downfall.

If it were to receive planning permission it would eventually provide places for 210 pupils – 30 per year group – from the local area.

The project, which would include seven classrooms, would be part-funded by £1.6m S106 money from developers of the new housing estates.

The decision to proceed with plans for an annexe school have been welcomed by South Holland District Council ward member Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, who said it was the option that was determined when the housing developments began 12 years ago.

He said: “It’s obvious to everyone that the county council has been slightly wrong-footed by the increase in numbers.

“Had we not had the economic downturn I suspect we may already be seeing building on that site because the whole development of that end of the estate would have pretty much finished instead of only starting six months ago.

“But the county council is faced with budget cuts like everyone else and these things all came together in a perfect storm.

“Hopefully they will now accept it’s the best plan as it was part of the district council’s great scheme for the development in 2000. It’s just a few years late.”