School expansion approved

A secondary school can now increase its student numbers by a third after an extension was approved, but councillors criticised the lack of renewable energy features in the plans.

Telford and Wrekin Council applied to build the two-storey teaching block at The Telford Langley School, in Dawley, and the borough’s planning committee backed the plans unanimously.

Application documents say the extra 14 general-use classrooms, and other specialised facilities, would increase the Duce Drive school’s capacity from 900 to 300 places.

Committee member Nigel Dugmore welcomed the “desperately needed” spaces, but said the council should “take the lead” by installing solar panels or heat pumps in new buildings.

A report before the nine-member planning committee said the school had been chosen for expansion after a council-conducted feasibility study. The new block, with 23,000 square feet of floorspace, will be placed to the south of the existing building, on an area of land that is currently “highly underutilised”.

Cllr Dugmore said: “I welcome this because, as we’re all aware, there is a crisis in school places.

“I’m a bit disappointed that there’s no mention of an environmentally sustainable energy source on this particular extension.

“Granted, it will probably just connect in with the services the existing school’s got, but I do think council applications should be taking the lead on these. There should at least be solar panels or a heat pump or something like that being installed. That’s the way it’s going to go and we’re going to have to start insisting on them.”

Planning officer Penny Stephan told the committee the design document discussed insulation but no energy generating devices.

Cllr Dugmore called this a “missed opportunity”, and Councillor Derek White said he “agreed entirely”.

“We are supposed to be entering a new, lower-carbon time for our council and it’s absolutely sensible, if we are putting in buildings, that we should have them to the highest standard,” Cllr White said.

“I think it’s right we should have more school spaces. We cannot go back to the overcrowding in the past, but we need to make changes. I know it’s more expensive in the short term, but it is a greater saving in the long term.”

As he cast his vote in favour, Cllr White asked that his and Cllr Dugmore’s comments be relayed to the team in charge of the project.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News