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Cowbit school hopes for talks with county education leaders in the hope of keeping developer's cash in village




Cowbit St Mary’s Primary School has asked for talks with county education leaders about a £101,500 developer’s payment that could be spent outside the village.

Plans for up to 45 homes to be built on two areas of land, off Mill Drove South, Cowbit, have been approved in principle by South Holland District Council.

A condition of the plans going through was the payment of a £101,487 educational contribution towards the expansion of Weston Hills Primary School, more than three miles away from Cowbit St Mary’s.

Weston Hills could see its primary school expanded with nearly £101,000 worth of developers' cash. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG050618153
Weston Hills could see its primary school expanded with nearly £101,000 worth of developers' cash. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG050618153

Lincolnshire County Council explained that its decision about the payment was due to Cowbit St Mary’s having a “constrained site”, making it “very difficult” for expansion.

But Cowbit St Mary’s head teacher Bruce Johnson said: “The school has spoken to Cowbit Parish Council in the past about the scope for expansion so we are confused as to why we weren’t consulted in this instance.

“We currently have spaces available for pupils and have the option to increase our Published Admission Number (PAN) above the current ceiling of 84 pupils.

“Myself and the governors were also unaware of the decision to allocate the developer’s educational contribution to Weston Hills Primary School and we have spoken to someone at the county council with regards to reviewing this decision.

“We are in the process of arranging a meeting with the county council about this matter.”

The village sign near Cowbit St Mary's Primary School.
The village sign near Cowbit St Mary's Primary School.

The allocation of the funds from Messrs Bacon, Bacon and Drury, the developers behind plans to turn the former Station Yard and Croft House Nursery in Cowbit into housing on two sites, was discussed at a parish council meeting last Monday.

Coun Andrew Woolf, a district councillor for Cowbit, said: "It's a parent's decision as to where they send their children to school.

Coun Andrew Woolf, South Holland District Council member for Cowbit. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG100418-167TW.
Coun Andrew Woolf, South Holland District Council member for Cowbit. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG100418-167TW.

"Some parents may have decided to send their children to Weston Hills because they think Cowbit St Mary's is full.

"But I think the money should be spent in Cowbit now that some historic information about its plans to expand have come to light."

The former Station Yard, off Mill Drove South, Cowbit, where developers have planning permission in principle for part of a 45-home development. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG-091018-019
The former Station Yard, off Mill Drove South, Cowbit, where developers have planning permission in principle for part of a 45-home development. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG-091018-019

Heather Sandy, Lincolnshire's interim director of education, said: "The county council consults schools when we intend to name their provision in a planning agreement.

"We would not routinely consult schools not included in such planning agreements, whether this is because there is sufficient capacity or otherwise.

"Decisions on naming schools in these agreements are fact-based and must comply with planning regulations.

"However, we do have meetings planned with Cowbit St Mary's Primary School to understand their concerns further and to discuss the planning process with them."



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