Fields of opportunity for college

A HUGE expansion of Otley College to more than double its number of students by 2018 and create a wealth of new facilities got the go ahead today.A master plan for development at the college was presented to Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee today by planning officer Philip Ridley.

A HUGE expansion of Otley College to more than double its number of students by 2018 and create a wealth of new facilities got the go ahead today.

A master plan for development at the college was presented to Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee today by planning officer Philip Ridley.

The project outlines how Otley College will expand over the next 15 years, eventually growing from its current 1,175 students to nearly 3,000.

At present the college has about 6,000 square metres of teaching space. After the first phase of development this will be increased to 15,782 sq metres including a new library and IT centre, animal care building, food skills area, engineering teaching rooms and riding school.


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For the first time it will take boarders with a residential block for up to 75 students planned.

Plans also involve a community sports facility including a pavilion which would be made available for community use.

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Longer term expansion will see the campus expanded to 20,000 sq metres by 2018.

Mr Ridley explained the two main issues planners were taking into account were the management of increased volumes of traffic along Roman Road and Charity Lane, and ensuring that the new buildings remained in keeping with the existing area.

The plans contain detailed proposals on the management of traffic including the introduction of a 30mph speed limit on the B1078 and the closure of Charity Lane.

Concerns were raised over the effectiveness of the traffic management and the increased likelihood of flooding that the new development would bring.

Cllr Peter Bellfield, Suffolk Coastal's member for the Otley area, said: "Both the parish council and myself are fully supportive of the expansion. It's excellent news for education, the college itself and the local economy, but I have two main objections."

Cllr Bellfield expressed concern about the current level of flooding that occurs on the B1078 after heavy rainfall. He said: "At the moment surface run off from the college grounds causes flooding of the main road. The plans will see the surface area of the college almost doubled so we are going to have double the amount of water."

He also raised the issue of traffic safety on the B1078. He said: "The B1078 is narrow and winding and has high banks. It is a dangerous piece of road."

The plan was approved on the condition that a legal agreement is signed to ensure the phased building of the development and to ensure appropriate traffic control measures are in place.

It is hoped the first phase of building work will begin in late autumn.

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