Shropshire Star

Academy's new teaching block will cater for more pupils

The proposed major expansion of a Telford secondary school to accommodate more pupils has been approved.

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A view of the new block - proposed for Holy Trinity Academy, in Priorslee - from the southwest. Picture: Bond Bryan Architects / Telford and Wrekin Council

Holy Trinity Academy, in Priorslee, currently has space for 900 pupils, but chairman of governors Mark Anderson told councillors there was huge pressure for places at the oversubscribed school.

Telford and Wrekin Council applied to build a three-storey teaching block to increase the academy's intake to 1,200. The plans also included the controversial building of a 2.4m steel fence around the two grass pitches to the west of the Teece Drive school.

A planners’ report said this would bring maintenance and safeguarding benefits and the community would still be able to book time to use the pitches. The borough Planning Committee voted 6-2 to approve the refit.

The new three-storey wing will include ten general classrooms, four science labs, an IT suite and ground-floor changing rooms. One full-size floodlit artificial football field and a five-a-side grass pitch were also proposed, along with other amendments to the main building.

Mr Anderson said: “We know there are increased numbers of students coming through primary schools and they will need secondary school places. This proposal allows us to expand our key role in developing the young people in our local community and responds to the large-scale housing development in the local area.”

Access to the external pitches would be made available through a community use agreement.

The details of this agreement would be negotiated between Telford and Wrekin Council and Sport England and finalised before the fence goes up.

The report acknowledged the enclosure of the grass pitches lay behind many of the 500 public objections the plans had attracted but the planning merits of the proposal outweigh the disadvantages of the enclosure of this space, it said.

St Georges and Priorslee Parish Council objected to the proposal and member Robert Cadman explained he and his colleagues had three concerns - the fencing-off of valuable green space, light and noise pollution for residents and the traffic impact.

“The fencing-off of the Teece Drive playing field is wrong," Councillor Cadman said.

“This green space was gifted by Baron Stafford in 1991 for recreational use by local people and not for educational purposes.

“The addition of a 3G pitch would be a great benefit to the school, allowing year-round use of an outdoor space that will not deteriorate. The parish council is, however, concerned 15m floodlights will cause light pollution to nearby residents and may particularly affect young children. There is also concern about noise pollution from users of the pitch.

“Lastly, there is significant and warranted concern regarding the increase in traffic.”

He said surrounding streets became clogged with cars during school-run times.

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