School expansion bid moves a step forward

Plans could see the Haven Primary School's size doubled
Plans could see the Haven Primary School's size doubled
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PLANS to expand an Eastbourne school to provide more spaces for pupils have been given the green light to move to the next stage.

East Sussex County Council and the governing body of the Haven Primary School want to double the size of the school and have been asking the local community what it thinks about the proposals.

At a meeting of the county council’s Lead Members for Children’s Services this week councillors heard that a large majority of people supported the plans to double the intake at the school to ease pressure on places in the town. ESCC and the school’s governing body conducted an informal consultation on the plans and information was distributed to parents, pupils, staff, other schools in the town and various other interested parties.

A range of meetings were also held to provide staff, governors and the public with further information and to explain the potential benefits of the expansion of the school.

The consultation drew a total of 196 responses with 70 per cent of those who responded supporting the proposal.

A further five per cent neither agreed or disagreed, while 25 per cent of those who responded opposed the plans.

Statutory notices will now be published on the proposals which, if approved, would see the school increase from one form of entry to two – from 30 places to 60 – and double its overall capacity gradually from 210 to 420 pupils by 2016/17.

The statutory notices give members of public the opportunity to make formal representations on the proposals.

Councillor David Elkin, the council’s lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said, “The Haven Primary School is a popular, successful school which is regularly over-subscribed.

“For that reason alone, it makes sense to look to provide more places for pupils there.

“But there is a wider issue and Eastbourne has seen a rise in birth rate in the town of 21 per cent in the past few years which has led to a shortfall in the amount of reception class places available.

“This means there is a real pressure on school places in Eastbourne and we are working hard to do something about it.”

The council anticipates that building work would take place during the 2011/12 academic year with completion likely to be phased during the 2012/13 academic year.

The feasibility study, which will take place during the early part of 2011, will look at development options for expanding the school building and determine the exact programme for delivery taking into account estimated costs and the statutory planning process.