School pressure warning as Stoke Ferry housing scheme is backed

GV picture of land between Bramcote House and The Village Hall in Lynn Road, Stoke Ferry for planning story 
Part of the site is an old petrol station next to hall (and needs decontaminating before any building work takes place ANL-171101-161312009
GV picture of land between Bramcote House and The Village Hall in Lynn Road, Stoke Ferry for planning story Part of the site is an old petrol station next to hall (and needs decontaminating before any building work takes place ANL-171101-161312009
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The approval of a new housing scheme in Stoke Ferry without a financial contribution to the village’s school could force children to be bussed elsewhere, officials have warned.

Plans for 29 new homes on an old garage site next to the village hall were backed by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee on Monday.

Members accepted officers’ recommendations to give the applicant, Stoke Ferry Regeneration, four months to complete legal agreements to secure planning permission.

But those contracts will not include either affordable housing or school contributions, because of concerns over the potential cost of decontaminating the land.

And Norfolk County Council education officials fear the latter will only increase pressure on the village’s All Saints Academy, which they say is already oversubscribed.

The authority had been seeking around £80,000 from the developer to help fund expansion of the school and said they could not waive the bill.

In late correspondence to the borough council, they added: “When other proposals are taken into account this will simply add to the pressure on this school.

“Without developer funding from this proposal towards the school’s expansion, there is a serious risk of the school being oversubscribed with increasing class sizes and the potential for mobile accommodation to be brought in; or local children having to be bused to the next nearest school with available places.

“In turn this could have an adverse impact on the attainment of pupils attending the school.

“Therefore, your planning committee needs to be aware of the consequences of not securing developer funding at this school before making a decision.”

But borough housing officers said the scheme would not be viable if the developer was expected to contribute to the school.

Their assessment said: “Whichever way you look at it this scheme cannot support affordable housing or education contributions.”

The meeting was told that a new car park proposed as part of the development would be built before any of the homes.

A separate £20,000 contribution to the village hall has also been agreed.

And parish councillor Judith Taylor, who spoke on behalf of the council and village hall committee, said the two bodies were “very happy” with what had been agreed.