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County meeting to consider plan for new Gayton primary school

Plans for a long-sought new primary school in a West Norfolk village will go before county councillors later this week.

The scheme to develop a site in the heart of Gayton is set to be debated at a meeting of Norfolk County Council’s planning committee on Friday.

But, with opinion among residents apparently split over whether the new plan is right for the village, officials have only called for members to consider whether they need to visit the site before making a final decision.

Norfolk County Council's headquarters, where calls for DIY waste recycling charges to be scrapped are set to be debated next week (27189612)
Norfolk County Council's headquarters, where calls for DIY waste recycling charges to be scrapped are set to be debated next week (27189612)

The current proposal allows for a new school building, with capacity for up to 210 pupils, plus a 56-place nursery to be built at the West Hall Farm site, off Springvale.

It replaces an earlier scheme for a site at the corner of Back Street and Winch Road, which was withdrawn because of flood risk concerns.

A report published ahead of the meeting said a majority of public responses were supportive of the new proposal, with 18 letters in favour, compared to 10 of objection.

Gayton - Village Sign. (27189586)
Gayton - Village Sign. (27189586)

One supporter said: "The village desperately needs a new school.

"There is probably no ‘perfect’ location’ for everyone, but the proposed site is fairly central to the village, not on a main highway, and should therefore allow a large majority of children to either walk or cycle to school which can only be a good thing."

Another argued: "We have found the best location for a long-awaited school.

"There are some items that do need addressing but hope these can be worked out and we will finally get what we desperately need."

But opponents say they are worried that the plans could cause what one described as "horrendous" traffic issues both on Springvale and on the main B1145 which runs through the village.

They also claim there are more suitable alternative sites, with one writing: "It is in the wrong location and is detrimental to the future growth and wellbeing of the Gayton residents."

Earlier this month, parish councillors in the village backed the proposal, but did voice concerns about a number of issues including access for pedestrians, cyclists and coaches. Several residents also called for amendments to be made.

The planning committee meeting will take place at County Hall in Norwich this Friday, January 24, and is due to start at 11am.

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