Gayton school to cost an extra £1 million and take another year to build

Residents of Gayton who are upset at the proposed relocation of Gayton School ANL-160124-143138009
Residents of Gayton who are upset at the proposed relocation of Gayton School ANL-160124-143138009
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Plans for a new school in a West Norfolk village will take at least a year longer, and cost £1 million more to complete, than previously expected, it has emerged.

County education officials say the increased cost of the development in Gayton is largely down to inflation and the building timetable has not been finalised.

But opponents of the scheme say the revelations are further proof of their view that the site is not suitable for the project.

A formal applicationfor planning permission to build a new, 210 place school on land at the corner of Back Street and Winch Road was submitted last month.

A public consultation on the scheme is also underway and is due to continue until July 8.

But documents published by Norfolk County Council within the consultation have disclosed that the new school is now not expected to open until September 2018, a year later than originally scheduled.

They also show that the building is now expected to cost £5.5 million to complete, £1 million more than when the proposals were first made public last autumn.

And objectors have seized on the revelations to renew their demands for a rethink of the whole project.

They say the site is unsuitable because of flood risks and the increased traffic that would be generated in the area.

Nearby resident Geoff Gibling said: “It’s already going over budget and the extra costs for putting it in the wrong location are only going to spiral higher.

“Why don’t they reconsider the whole project location?”

But a Norfolk County Council spokesman said: “Cost estimates are prepared throughout the development of major capital schemes but final costs cannot be known with certainty until the completion of the tender process.

“The published Children’s Services capital budget includes the sum of £5.5m which is an increase on estimates set two years ago, covering not least inflationary pressures.

“This complex scheme is at the planning stage and timing for construction will not be firmed up until that stage is complete.”

The new school is intended to replace the existing complex on Lynn Road, which is widely regarded to be no longer fit for purpose.

The school became an all-through primary in 2011 as part of a re-structuring of school provision in the area.

The shake-up also saw the creation of the Holly Meadows Primary School in Grimston, replacing the village’s former First and Junior schools plus the old Pott Row First School. The school in Ashwicken also became a full primary.

Since the changes, a number of temporary structures have been used to accommodate the extra pupils being taught at the Gayton site.

But the county council has consistently argued that the current school site is not big enough for a new building and maintains its chosen location is the most suitable option.