Monksmoor ‘will get’ £4.5m school

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THE proposed developers of Daventry’s Monksmoor estate will pledge around £4.5 million to ensure a primary school is built on the site.

Concerns have been raised about the ‘lack of clarity’ surrounding the plans and many are worried the 1,000-home development could follow Middlemore, an estate promised a school which has so far not arrived.

But Crest Nicholson said at a Daventry District Council (DDC) planning meeting last week that a school will be delivered.

The plans for a school were changed slightly at the meeting, meaning Crest will now hand the money over to a bank account looked after by DDC.

The cash will then be released to Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), but can strictly only be used to build a school.

Under the plans a school must be built by the time the 300th home is occupied.

Crest agent Scott Black reassured the meeting that the firm sees building a school on the estate as a top priority.

He said: “We have already agreed to provide the land for the school and are committed to this. We are keen for our customers to have this facility as soon as they move into their new house.”

DDC planning officers said they are happy with the plans, particularly as they will have control over the funds.

The officers added that NCC are ‘not very happy’ about DDC holding the cash, but DDC is keen to follow this through to prevent a repeat of the Middlemore scenario.

However some DDC councillors still have concerns about the changes.

Cllr Colin Morgan, who lives on Middlemore, said: “I’m not sure I follow the logic on the school plan and I feel there is a level of ambiguity.

“If Crest makes the donation after 299 houses are built the children who already live there will still have no school for a long period of time. I have issues with the level of trust we can have in NCC and there seems to be a lack of clarity.”

Cllr Wendy Randall added that she has ‘real concerns’ over the schooling issue.

DDC officer Steve Ellis reassured the council that Crest’s plans are ‘common practice elsewhere’.

He added that, based on current estimates of how many people will live on the estate, Crest will invest around £4.5 million in the new school, which will be enough to build an adequate facility.

NCC said Daventry currently has enough school places to accommodate children and added there are other measures which can be used, if appropriate, to cater for additional growth in the town.

A spokesman for NCC added: “The county council is already meeting with governors from several schools in Daventry about the possibility of building on the existing education infrastructure in the town. This would include the areas surrounding the Monksmoor and Middlemoor estates.

“Although it is unusual for the developer contributions to be held by the district council, it is entitled to do so.”