New opposition lodged to Gayton school plan

Residents of Gayton who are upset at the proposed relocation of Gayton School ANL-160124-142950009
Residents of Gayton who are upset at the proposed relocation of Gayton School ANL-160124-142950009
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Concerns over flooding and transport have not been adequately addressed by plans for a new village school, according to borough planners.

West Norfolk councillors will debate the proposed development in Gayton next week, even though the final decision on whether it goes ahead does not lie with them.

But planning officers have recommended the authority lodges a holding objection to the scheme for land at the junction of Back Street and Winch Road, because of their concerns over flood risk and traffic issues.

Their report to the council’s planning committee said: “The outstanding objections on flood risk and the failure to take into account committed development in the transport assessment indicate the applicant has not satisfactorily addressed these site-specific issues.”

The reference to other development relates to a separate application for 40 new homes at Manor Farm, on Back Street, under which the road is proposed to be narrowed.

And the report adds: “The proposed narrowing of Back Street to accommodate walking trips from the school conflicts with the approved access arrangements for the residential development that proposes widening the road.”

County education officials have consistently argued that the site represents the best option for a new school in the village, which most observers are agreed is needed.

Documents submitted as part of the application said: “The proposed primary school has been sensitively designed to avoid any unacceptable impact upon the site, surroundings and residential amenity of neighbouring properties.

“It is located in a sustainable location without any site specific constraints, and will help maintain and strengthen educational provision within the village of Gayton and the surrounding catchment area.”

But opponents say that, even if flooding and transport concerns are addressed, the planned 210-place capacity is inadequate to cope with projected needs associated with both permitted and proposed housing schemes for the area.

The recommendation is the latest setback to the project, which has already been hit by delays and rising costs.

Both the Environment Agency and Norfolk County Council officials have already voiced their concerns about flood risks associated with the application, on which the county council itself will determine whether permission should be granted or not.

Although Anglian Water has not objected to the scheme, and advises that sufficient capacity is currently in place to accommodate it, the company has warned that additional drainage capacity would be needed if other developments proceed before this one.

Local residents have also highlighted concerns about the impact of increased traffic and parking in the area.

And, last week, it emerged that the school will cost £1 million more to build, taking the current total cost to £5.5 million, and is unlikely to be completed until September 2018.

The report, which will be examined at a committee meeting in Lynn next Monday, July 4, also recommends the use of alternative materials to those proposed so far, in a bid to better reflect more of an agricultural style of building.