Village school set for decision on expansion

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EXPANDING a village school will be discussed at a council meeting next week.

Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet will debate on Tuesday whether Weedon Bec Primary School should increase its pupil numbers from 210 to 266.

The building work will involve constructing three new classrooms.

The council report says the move is in response to rising numbers of primary school aged pupils.

Countywide it wants to create an extra 1,800 primary school places. Currently there are 3,570 primary school places, but the council wants to provide 5,470 places by September 2013.

It goes on to say that without the expansion step there is a high risk the council would not meet its legal requirement to provide enough school places.

As part of the consultation process the governors of Weedon School wrote to the county council.

In the letter Christopher Horton, the governors’ representative on the buildings, health and safety committee, said: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to expand the school in line with the growth and demographic of Weedon and its local community.”

Adding: “While we welcome the investment to add a further three classrooms, and understand the limitation on expansion at this time, it is very important that consideration of potential future expansion to two classes for every year group throughout the school be taken.

“Our main aim is to ensure that we avoid restricting future growth due to the lack of consideration at this time.”

NCC said any further increases would be dependant on extra demand for places in the area, the suitability of the site for more extension, funding and the outcome of future consultations.

The cost of the Weedon project is estimated at £1,031,200 – the cheapest of the seven expansion plans being looked at by the cabinet. Of that total £35,000 will come from the school, £789,645 from the Government and £206,555 from developers through section 106 agreements – although the document does not state which housing developments.

Ahead of any future planning application for the building work, the council will talk to staff, parents and local residents.

An issue likely to be raised will be access and traffic at the beginning and end of the school day.