MP Jo Churchill says ‘will’ is there to build new school in Bury St Edmunds

A visualisation of the previously proposed Moreton Hall Academy.

A visualisation of the previously proposed Moreton Hall Academy. - Credit: Contributed

The MP for Bury St Edmunds has said the timescale to build a new high school for Moreton Hall is “tight,” but the “will” is there to achieve it.

The new Moreton Hall Academy is due to open in September 2016, but the plans faced a major setback last week when Suffolk County Council’s development control committee failed to give them the green light.

Concerns over the school’s proximity to Rougham Airfield and nearby residential properties, as well as a lack of drop-off points for parents and cycleways and footpaths for students meant the plans have been sent back for amendments to be made.

The new school, which will be run by the National Education Trust, is a key part of the move to two-tier education in the Bury area and would address a reduction in pupil numbers in each year group at King Edward VI School.

Following the committee’s decision, Colin Noble, leader of Suffolk County Council, pledged the academy would be open on time.

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MP Jo Churchill said: “I have spoken to the portfolio holder at county and they are committed to delivering that school on time, and I’m sure with the will of both county, the borough and the MP we will get there.

“It’s going to be tight. It’s a very tight timeframe and I would be the first to bring that caveat to the table, but [the decision] showed the planning was independent.”

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The new academy fitted into wider plans for new homes, a relief road and business park extension at Moreton Hall.

Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, John Griffiths, said: “While disappointed and currently a little mystified by this decision, I am confident that it will not prevent the delivery of our ambition to deliver sports and leisure facilities for our communities within a Moreton Hall secondary school.

“Neither will it hinder the delivery of new homes, better transport infrastructure in the form of the Eastern Relief Road, and the creation of new businesses and jobs for our residents through the expansion of the Suffolk Business Park.”

Mr Noble has said the plans should go back to the development control committee in July and the school should take six months to build.

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