New school for Shrewsbury in £4.5 million education expansion
A new school could be built in Shrewsbury as part of a £4.5 million plan to cope with rising demand for places.
A stream of new housing developments in the town has put strain on existing schools in the west of the town to the point where a new build is needed to address the demand, Shropshire Council's cabinet members were told.
There are also plans to increase primary provision in the north of Shrewsbury by relocating Sundorne Infants School to share the Harlescott Juniors site and building seven additional classrooms.
Councillor Nick Bardsley, cabinet member for children and young people, told cabinet: "Overall Shropshire still has the problem of a declining school population. In parts of the county that's a very significant problem and schools are struggling to manage with too few children coming into the number of school buildings and places they have.
"However, there are parts of Shropshire where we have the opposite problem, where there is a growth in numbers.
"So far as individual schools wanting extra classrooms are concerned, that has been addressed at the cabinet meeting at the beginning of this month. They were approved and there will be additional classrooms provided over the next 12 months, mostly in the north of Shrewsbury.
"But we do need to start the process of looking at providing a new school in the west of Shrewsbury."
Council officer Phil Wilson explained that this was due to existing primary schools in that area of the town being "very, very landlocked" with no room for the sites to be expanded.
The site of the new school would be a seven-hectare piece of land in Bowbrook, already allocated for education and recreation.
The school could be a primary school, an all-through school or an inclusive school with spaces for pupils with additional needs – with that aspect able to attract government funding.
In the north of the town, members heard a land swap between an existing school federation and an academy trust could solve the need for more school places there.
Currently, Sundorne Infants and Harlescott Juniors – which make up the Haughmond Federation – are on separate sites less than half a mile from each other. Sundorne Infants shares a site with the Corndon Crescent campus of Shrewsbury Academy, which has a second campus on Worcester Road.
Mr Wilson said both the federation and the academy trust were keen to cut costs by operating on single sites and this could be made possible through a land swap.
Shropshire Council would move Sundorne Infants to share the Harlescott Juniors site, where there is also room to accommodate seven new classrooms needed by both schools.
Shrewsbury Academy would then take on the entire Corndon Crescent site, and in return relinquish its 125-year lease on its Worcester Road site back to the council.
Members voted to go out to public consultation on the proposals.