Expanding Felixstowe needs to find new primary school site
PUBLISHED: 15:35 21 March 2016
Land will need to be identified for a new primary school in Felixstowe if around 1,800 new homes are built.
Community leaders will this week agree the Area Action Plan for the Felixstowe peninsula, which identifies the sites for the homes and is likely to go to a public hearing held by the Planning Inspectorate in August or September.
However, Suffolk County Council is concerned that while sites for the homes have been identified, no land has been earmarked as a potential site for a new school to cater for the extra children who will arrive.
The council said: “The distribution of housing creates a challenge in terms of providing sufficient additional primary school places.
“Land needs to be identified for a new primary school well related to housing growth, to ensure confidence in a long-term solution for primary school provision.
“Trimley St Martin Primary School and Grange Primary School can expand but are not well related to proposed housing growth.”
With more than 200 students choosing to travel out of Felixstowe every day to schools in Ipswich, Woodbridge and Saxmundham, education chiefs are confident that Felixstowe Academy has sufficient capacity to absorb the additional pupils arising from development proposed in the action plan.
However, there is a feeling that more early years education will be needed.
The county council said: “Whilst there is uncertainty around the level of provision which will be required, it is clear that at least one new Early Years setting will be required within the Trimleys and/or Walton High Street and potentially one other, dependent on future primary school provision.
“When co-location isn’t possible Suffolk County Council’s next preference is for settings to be well related to retail and community facilities. This is considered complementary to retail uses given the footfall it would generate.”
Suffolk Coastal said: “The district council will continue to work with Suffolk County Council to ensure that appropriate provision for education is made across the Felixstowe Peninsula alongside anticipated residential growth.”
The action plan aims to provide enough sites for the 1,760 new homes required in the Felixstowe area without building on precious and much-loved countryside. Around 950 are already completed, under construction or have permission.
Sites identified include potentially 360 homes at Walton Green North off Walton High Street; 153 on farmland behind Conway Close, Old Felixstowe; 222 surrounding Trimley Old Rectory, and 108 off Thurmans Lane, Trimley St Mary; 43 at High Road, 54 in Grimston Lane, and 52 at Heathfields, all Trimley St Martin.
Suffolk Coastal says while Felixstowe and the Trimleys have seen large-scale growth in the last 50 years, in the past decade this has slowed dramatically and while the population is increasing slowly, household sizes are falling.
More people are looking for a home, which leads to younger people having to look outside Felixstowe peninsula for careers and housing.