Calls for new school at Cuckoo Farm

CALLS have been made for a new primary school to be built in the early stages of the massive Cuckoo Farm development in north Colchester.Plans for a new football stadium, 1,500 homes, new A12 junction, service station, hotel and business park were given the green light by Colchester Borough Council this week.

CALLS have been made for a new primary school to be built in the early stages of the massive Cuckoo Farm development in north Colchester.

Plans for a new football stadium, 1,500 homes, new A12 junction, service station, hotel and business park were given the green light by Colchester Borough Council this week.

One of the planning conditions is that developers build a new 420-place primary school in the grounds of the redeveloped Severalls Hospital site.

Myland Parish Council is calling for the new school to be built in the early stages of the development.


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"We've already got a problem with education in Mile End - most of the schools are full," said Peter Mecklenburgh, ex-chairman of the parish council.

"Children in Turner Rise have to travel to school. They're shipped all over the place. They haven't got a catchment area."

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Colchester Borough Council portfolio holder with responsibility for planning Richard Gower said: "No one wants to end up with children being bussed all around Colchester to find them places.

"We are trying to build up a community. One of the cores of the community is the local primary school."

According to the agreement, the planners must reserve some land on the Severalls Hospital site for a primary school and give it to Essex County Council, along with £4 million to build it.

But the planning conditions do not stipulate when the school should be built.

A spokesman from Essex County Council said: "We admit there's a real shortage of places in this part of Colchester and that situation will become increasingly tight.

"However, in order to create a viable and healthy school, which provides a wide range of subjects, the numbers attending school must be high. You cannot produce a good all round school with numbers beginning with 50 to 60 pupils."

He said the long-term needs for school places will be met, but in the short term children may have to travel to school.

"We will be very closely monitoring pupil numbers – and that includes three and four-year-olds," he added.

He He said the council would be able to advise the developers when to provide the school.

The developers must also pay a "massive seven figure financial contribution" towards the expansion of secondary schools in the area, according to the planning conditions. This must be made as each phase of the development is finished.

There is also provision for a "significant contribution" towards a new primary school at Turner Rise if the development reaches a certain level.

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