Developers face £340,000 Hunstanton school expansion bill

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Developers will have to pay almost £340,000 to provide nearly 30 extra primary school places in Hunstanton if they want to build up to 120 new homes in the resort.

County education chiefs say the Collingwood Road site is already nearly full and the investment reflects the additional demand the development is likely to place on it.

Pigeon Hunstanton 2 Ltd and the Le Strange Estate are seeking outline permission to develop a site to the east of Cromer Road.

Planning officials have recommended that the scheme is approved, subject to the completion of legal agreements, when it is debated by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee on Monday.

But, in a period when the pressure placed on local infrastructure by new housing developments is a big issue across West Norfolk, their report to the committee also shows the extent of investment that is set to be needed in local education if the scheme is approved.

Around £800,000 was spent on expanding the buildings, previously home of the Redgate Junior School, ahead of its amalgamation with the former Hunstanton Infant School last year.

But the planning report said: “Hunstanton Primary School is nearly at full capacity, with only four spare places available.

“From a development of this size, it is likely that 29 children of primary school age will be generated.

“The cost per place of £11,644 would mean that a contribution of £337,676 would be required to fund an extension to the primary school, identified as a specific project.”

The report, which was published this week, says no similar contribution is needed at Smithdon High School, because of the number of available places there.

But the applicants will also have to pay more than £7,000 towards library provision and up to £6,000, at a rate of £50 per property, towards upgrades of the Norfolk Coast path.

If the committee votes to grant permission, the applicants will then have until early September to complete legal agreements covering those issues and the provision of affordable housing on the site. Consent could be overturned if that is not done.

The report also showed 10 letters of objection have been submitted about the scheme, which has already been given the support of Hunstanton town council.

Opponents claim the number of homes already on the market in the town show there is no need for the project to proceed.

They are also worried that it would increase the pressure on the local road network, particularly on the A149.

And one objector claimed the plan would lead to the “destruction” of an area of outstanding natural beauty.

But the applicants say the scheme is justified by the borough’s recent lack of an adequate land supply, which the council claimed it had resolved last month.

They also maintain the development will have wider economic and employment benefits for the town.