A MASSIVE increase in the number of young children in Eastbourne is likely to lead to more mobile classrooms in schools.
On Wednesday (June 22) the county council’s planning committee granted permission for an Eastbourne school to put up a temporary classroom, despite criticism from a counsellor and a neighbour.
St Andrew’s School in Seaside, which dates back to the Victorian era, will build the classroom in the playground in response to growing numbers of children looking for places in Eastbourne.
David Vickers, the principal planner at East Sussex County Council, said, “Eastbourne generally is experiencing an increase in the number of young children to the extent an additional 120 reception school places or four classes are required across the town from the start of the next academic year in September.
“As it is currently unclear whether this population increase will be sustained in the longer term a number of planning applications have been made across Eastbourne primary schools for temporary classrooms.”
Mr Vickers said the single new classroom at St Andrew’s will increase the number of pupils to just under 300 and create an additional two members of staff.
He told the planning committee the classroom would be sited next to a wall and hidden from homes in Winchelsea Road and could only be seen from a short stretch from Vine Square.
The planning officer has recommended the committee vote in favour of the classroom and concluded, “On balance there is considered to be a pressing need for the additional accommodation.
“This outweighs any limited adverse impacts the building might have on the appearance of the area or that any additional volume of traffic on the highway and any other road users in the vicinity.”
Cllr Barry Taylor opposed the application and said, “What concerns me is the children’s play area and space is reducing in many schools.
“It’s a very small school and I’m worried we’re not taking into account the number of children and the play area capacity. I understand there is a problem with needing more space at schools but this is trying to increase the capacity of what is a very small school in some ways, almost up to capacity.” Cllr Joy Hughes, agreed mobile classrooms were not ideal but said they were a ‘necessary evil’. The committee agreed to grant planning permission for the temporary classroom for four years.