New Moreton Hall high school is given the green light by county council

A visualisation of the new high school at Moreton Hall.

A visualisation of the new high school at Moreton Hall. - Credit: Contributed

A new high school in Bury St Edmunds will be built after Suffolk county councillors voted in favour of the project – despite approval being refused last month.

The development control committee of the council rubberstamped the proposal to construct the school at Moreton Hall during a meeting in Ipswich today (July 8).

Ten councillors voted in favour of the plans with only three opposing.

The new development will see a school fit for up to 1,400 secondary school pupils and 200 sixth form students built over several phases with a prospective opening date on September 2016.

The build also includes a range of community sports facilities.

The proposal was initially refused by the committee in June because of concerns over the perceived bland design of the buildings, proximity to nearby homes, the safety of pupils being dropped off outside the school and the safe use of footpaths given the nearby Rougham Airfield.

During the meeting several councillors praised the design of the building while a report presented to the committee included scope for a 13-car layby to address the safety concerns.

Tony Peck, co-chairman of the Moreton Hall Residents’ Association, told the meeting the organisation had always supported the plans.

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“We don’t object in principle to the proposals,” he said. “We would just like to get some of the detail right.”

Councillors were also told the main Heart Building, was further away from the nearest houses than the guidance distance of 36 metres.

However Labour councillor Helen Armitage still had concerns about the proximity of the airfield to the school’s playing fields.

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, welcomed the decision.

He said: “I’m very pleased by this news and hopefully this will now enable us not only to see the school quickly on its way but also for St Edmundsbury to deliver all the associated leisure and sporting facilities that will benefit the whole community.”

Frank Warby, a borough councillor for Moreton Hall, said he was “very pleased” the plans for the new school had been approved.

“It’s good for the estate and good for the residents and the children. We need it ASAP. We don’t want any more knock-backs.”

Geoff Barton, head of King Edward VI School, said: “It’s reassuring to see how quickly events are moving to make the new Morteon Hall school a reality for September 2016.

“This is good news for parents, teachers and especially the children of Bury and surrounding villages.”