New special school near Higham Ferrers approved

Chelveston Road School will provide much needed places for Northamptonshire's special needs pupils

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 4:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th June 2020, 4:56 pm
The school is being funded by the DfE and will open next year.

Plans for a new secondary special school near Higham Ferrers have been approved.

The Chelveston Road School, which will be run by the Friars Multi Academy Trust, is now set to open next year with work beginning this year.

It will provide schooling for 140 students from across the county and help fill the need for special needs places in the county. There is currently a severe places shortage and many pupils are being sent to schools outside of the county. There will be a phased opening of the school with numbers increasing each year.

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Councillors on East Northamptonshire Council unanimously approved the plan at last night’s (June 10) virtual planning meeting with many speaking in favour of the new school on the outskirts of Higham Ferrers, which will share an entrance with neighbouring Moulton College.

The school is being built on green field land and development on such a site is outside of the planning framework for the area, but an exception has been made because the Department for Education, which is funding the school, had not been able to find another suitable site.

However concerns were raised by some councillors about the siting of the school just off the red route of Chelveston Road, which has seen numerous accidents over the years, including a serious motorbike accident on May 31. There is no pedestrian path into Higham Ferrers and Moulton College students currently have to cross the busy A6 to get to the town.

Cllr Dorothy Maxwell, who is not on the planning committee, spoke at the meeting and said many residents were concerned about the road issues near to the new school site and asked for the matter be deferred.

The planning report said that pupils who attended the new school would only be arriving via taxi, bus or car and would not be leaving the school site during the day.

Harriet Pentland, who is councillor for the ward and a planning committee member, said: “To my mind this is a well thought out application.

“I do understand concerns regarding the highways but I’m satisfied safety will be at the forefront of those designing this’ mind. We have little alternative given the nature of the road. I don’t think this outweighs the merits of the application.”

As part of planning conditions a new right hand turn ghost island must be built.