Council approves new £30m school for Cheltenham

council approves new 30m school for cheltenham - Council approves new £30m school for CheltenhamImage copyright AHR Architects
Image caption The school will also include an all-weather sport pitch, playing fields and a multi-use games area

A new £30m secondary school with capacity for 900 pupils in Cheltenham has received unanimous approval from the county council planning committee.

The school is set to be constructed in the Leckhampton area of the town to address a shortage of spaces.

Gloucestershire County Council voted to back the plans on Thursday and the application will now need the final sign-off from the Secretary of State.

Subject to approval, the school could open to year seven pupils in 2022.

The county council first put forward the plans in 2017 and says the school is needed to meet demand for places, due to the rising number of school-age children in the area.

There are 350 new homes planned north of the proposed school site and 25 to the east, with 377 homes to the south already completed, reported the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

Image copyright AHR Architects
Image caption The council received 154 representations in support of the school and 59 objections during the planning process

Resident Anna O’Connor spoke at the virtual planning meeting to support the application, saying pupils in Leckhampton “are those most likely not to receive a place at a local school”.

“Leckhampton has suffered from this problem for well over a decade, and the community continues to be ripped apart yearly as families find themselves commuting their children to the north of the town, or having to move.

“If the school doesn’t open, there will be nowhere for our children to go.”

Vivienne Matthews was one of two local residents who spoke against the application.

“A school with playing fields and floodlights will be a blot on the landscape, which will scar the area irretrievably for generations to come,” she said.

Dominic Burke, headteacher of Balcarras School in Charlton Kings, which will sponsor the new school, said: “We will do everything we can for the local community to support them.”

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