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Downham Market primary school expansion plans revealed

Downham Market
Downham Market

Plans have been revealed to expand a primary school in Downham and increase it to a 630 pupil facility.

Proposals for Hillcrest Primary School would see the demolition of existing mobile classrooms, the extension and part-refurbishment of the existing school building and the construction of a new standalone two-storey block.

The development would expand it to a three-form entry school and increase the pupil capacity from 467 (as reported in January 2017) to 630.

Reports regarding the plans, submitted by Norfolk County Council, say: “The number of pupils on roll has been increasing and to cater for this increase in recent years, a number of temporary modular class bases have been sited, mainly centrally at the school, to meet this requirement.

“Norfolk County Council Children’s Services now propose to replace this temporary accommodation with a nine class base new block.”

Previously, planning permission was granted in July of this year for the provision of a single class base modular accommodation for a period of two years.

According to the planning statement, once the application is approved, building work should start in the next two years and ensure the modular buildings are removed no later than summer 2019.

It adds: “It is considered that the application proposal will deliver an enhanced and high quality learning environment.

“The two-storey design limits land take and restricts the breakout into grassed area.”

Additional car parking is also proposed, as well as provision of new ‘hard’ play areas, an extension to an existing reception classroom in the main building and associated works.

Concerns were raised earlier this year, though, by residents living nearby about parking levels around the school – but the application proposes to increase the number of car parking spaces on site from 37 to 57.

There are also hopes to encourage more children to cycle to school by increasing the number of cycle spaces from 10 to 46.

A parking statement on Norfolk County Council’s website says: “In respect of cycling provision, as a primary school, it currently falls short of the standards.

“As the pupils are drawn from a local catchment, it provides good opportunities for pupils to cycle to school and store their cycles in a covered area on the school grounds.”

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