Road safety fears over Gayton school plan

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A planning application for a new village school could go before community leaders within the next few weeks, a meeting has heard.

County education officials say they are continuing to develop their plans for a new £4.5 million school in Gayton, though they deny claims a deal has been done to purchase the proposed site.

But roads chiefs have been criticised for not attending a recent public exhibition of the latest plans, amid continuing concerns over traffic safety and parking around the site.

A new school building is proposed for land at the corner of Back Street and Winch Road as the present site in Lynn Road is believed to be too small for current and future needs and unsuitable for further redevelopment.

A report on talks with Norfolk County Council officials was delivered during Monday’s parish council meeting.

Chairman Bob King said: “They reiterated there was no other feasible site in the village as far as they are concerned.”

The meeting was also told that a formal planning application to develop the site may be on the parish council’s agenda when it next meets in mid-March.

But many nearby residents maintain the chosen site is unsuitable for the project, because of concerns over flood risks, road safety and parking congestion.

There has also been speculation this week that Norfolk County Council has already reached an agreement with the land’s owners to buy the site for the school.

However, a spokesman said the authority had not yet purchased the site.

She added: “We’re still preparing the planning application”, but did not say when it was expected to be submitted.

Ward borough councillor Alistair Beales, who is also a parish councillor, said there was “disappointment” that county highways officials had not attended a public consultation session held at the existing school site last month, because of the issues relating to the road.

Fellow parish councillor Peter Grant said he was concerned about the speed of traffic using the roads closest to the site and the safety of children.

He said: “I’m worried the school is going to be built and there’s going to be problems which can be mitigated now.”

But Mr Beales said the village’s county councillor, Toby Coke, was aware of the concerns.