11:00 Tuesday 27 November 2012

School expansion plans at top of agenda

Written byHELEN KREFT

A PRIMARY school could be further expanded after plans for more than 200 homes in Castle Gresley were approved.

Mike Longden
Mike Longden

A feasibility study is currently under way at St George’s Primary School, in Church Street, Church Gresley, to provide more classrooms, but Derbyshire County Council has now revealed the school could be expanded further.

South Derbyshire District Council’s planning committee narrowly voted in favour of giving St Modwen Developments Ltd permission in principle to build 215 homes and warehouses, creating about 150 jobs, off Swadlincote Lane, Castle Gresley.

Trevor Southerd, who represents the Church Gresley ward for Labour, said the development would ‘overwhelm’ existing schools, but his Conservative counterpart and Linton ward councillor Bob Wheeler backed the plans, providing sufficient allowance was made for school places and recreational space.

The news comes after Janet Sellers, of Mount Pleasant Road, spoke out over her worries about the lack of school provision in the village since the new plans were announced.

She said: “Another school is what I thought the land would be used for but now they are putting houses and warehouses on it.

“The other school closed down so we have got to have a school in Castle Gresley because we will be having more children.

“Where will the children go? Some have to go as far as Newhall.”

Mike Longden, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “Castle Gresley Infants closed in August 2008.

“Pupils living in Castle Gresley now go to either Church Gresley Primary, Linton Primary or St George’s Primary, also in Church Gresley.

“Since taking over as cabinet member for education in 2009, we’ve invested £444,000 to create additional classroom space at St George’s Primary School, and we’re building a new £6.6 million Church Gresley Infant and Nursery School, providing 30 more places than the present school. This is expected to open in September 2013.

“We’re considering further expansion at St George’s and now the planning application for more housing in Swadlincote Lane has been approved, any money we get from the developers for education will be used to provide even more places at primary schools serving the area.”

More than £800,000 will be ploughed into the area through a Section 106 agreement, where an applicant is required to compensate a community for the impact of its development, and £200,000 of this will be for education provision.

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