Plans for new Telford primary school set to take step forward

A new primary school will take a step closer to being built west of Telford if senior councillors approve.

Outline permission for 470 new homes on the former British Sugar site, at Allscott, was granted in 2016, and some sections of the 90-acre development have already received full consent.

In a report for Telford and Wrekin Council’s cabinet, School Organisation and Admissions officer Shane Billingham wrote that the two nearest schools to the new homes are more than two miles away and not suitable for expansion, so a new 150-place school is needed.

He recommended that the 10-member executive triggers the process that will identify an operator to run the school, once built. The cabinet will discuss Mr Billingham’s report when it meets on Thursday, April 22.

Mr Billingham wrote: “The planning application for the erection of a mixed-use development, comprising up to 470 dwellings, was determined on May 5, 2016.

“The site requires a new school alongside the housing development to provide local infrastructure for the new community.

“Adjacent school sites are more than two miles of the development, which is the Department for Education recommended maximum walking distance for pupils under the age of eight and the council would incur transport costs transporting pupils to either of the school site.

“In addition, the adjacent school sites are not suitable for expansion.”

Competition

Under a 'Section 106 agreement' made during application process, developer SJ Roberts has agreed to fund and build a 150-place primary school on the former British Sugar site.

“It is anticipated that the whole development should be completed by spring 2022,” Mr Billingham added.

“As local authorities are not legally allowed to open and run new schools, the process by which a new school is set up is through a ‘free school presumption’.

“This is a competition run by the local authority in conjunction with the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office to identify a sponsor who will be responsible for running the school once built.”

If the cabinet approves starting the process, Mr Billingham wrote, it will run in the second half of the 2021 summer term and the commissioner would be asked to make a final decision in the autumn term.

The developer is expected to apply for full planning permission in October and, if approved, construction would start in May 2022 ahead of opening in September 2023.

Outline permission for the school has been given, but the precise details are to be confirmed, Mr Billingham added.

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