'A bit strange' - School expansion delayed despite rapid housing growth
PUBLISHED: 06:47 11 October 2018
A major Suffolk school expansion has been put on hold, despite hundreds of new homes being built nearby.
Suffolk County Council had been proposing major work at Sir Robert Hitcham’s Primary School in Framlingham to accommodate an extra 60 children in each year – a total capacity of 420 pupils.
However, the work, which would have seen two new classrooms and a studio hall being built, has been delayed due to a reduction in the school’s pupil number forecasts.
Although Framlingham is in the midst of a major house building surge, including developments in Mount Pleasant, Fairfield Road and Station Road, SCC said the number of pupils likely to start at the school was now lower than previously expected.
Discussing the announcement at Framlingham Town Council’s latest meeting, councillor David Beal said the decision seemed “a bit strange”, considering all of the unoccupied new homes which had been built.
Stephen Burroughes, who represents Framlingham at Suffolk County Council, said he thought the project was “on hold – not necessarily kicked out of the equation”.
In a statement, the school said it was “disappointed” by the decision but would work closely with SCC to ensure the school’s position is “kept under review in the light of housing developments in the area.
The number of new homes proposed for Framlingham has been a controversial topic over recent years. People living in the town had objected fiercely to the latest large-scale developments – often citing the lack of services and infrastructure for the growth in residents.
One of the few projects approved to accommodate the growing population had been the school’s new classroom block.
A Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: “The project at Framlingham Sir Robert Hitcham’s CEVA Primary School was put on hold following release of the 2018 Primary school pupil forecasts which indicated that the numbers of children likely to come forward were lower than expected.
“Our forecasts do take into account housing developments with planning permission. We will be reviewing the position with the school on a regular basis and have a scheme we can move ahead with if the position changes and there is a need for additional places.”