Firms choose flood defences over primary school places

PUBLISHED: 14:00 19 January 2013

View of Highbridge and Burnham Town Sign.

View of Highbridge and Burnham Town Sign.

Archant

DEVELOPERS have been criticised for ‘selling away the futures of children’ in Highbridge after they opted not to make a financial contribution towards the education system as part of a proposed 102-home plan.

The consultation period for Gaia Partnership and Wessex Water’s proposal to build the properties on land at the western end of Newton Road has just ended.

But the partnership says it has decided not to contribute towards local education costs because Hallam Land Management, which will build a separate 550-home development on land at nearby Brue Farm, has promised to pay out £200,000 and build a new school.

This has prompted a councillor to hit out against the Newton Road developers’ lack of support for the town’s primary school system to offset the development.

Councillor Helen Groves said: “At the moment there is a deficit of places in primary education, in reception and year two classes, subject to a legal cap of 30 pupils to a class. All three of the catchment schools are over.

“The developers do not seem to be recognising how important it is.

“It’s selling away the futures of children in the town.

“Even if Brue Farm went ahead with a new school, it would only absolve the deficit of places which is naturally occurring with the population increase.

“There is also a knock-on effect for health and transport.

“Neighbours have had no letters and I have had a lot of emails about this because they would normally have a right to be notified in writing.”

A spokesman for the joint developers said: “We have indicated we will be willing to make a contribution to the flood defences and flood risk.

“We have looked at the school places in the area and we have understood that plans to expand St Andrew’s Junior School and proposals from the Brue Farm development will provide sufficient places for the new people who will move in.”


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