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School place warning over Parkway homes proposal



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A county education chief has warned of greater strain on Lynn’s secondary schools following approval of plans for more than 200 new homes in Gaywood.

Borough council leaders have been branded “blinkered” over their handling of the Parkway proposals, though they have maintained the investment sought would have forced the scheme to be scrapped.

The plan for 226 homes looks set to proceed after the Government indicated it would not take the final decision out of West Norfolk Council’s hands last month.

Protest meeting at the proposed New Housing Development for the Gaywood Area...Land next to King's Lynn Academy Site on Queen Mary Road/Parkway Gaywood. (55686588)
Protest meeting at the proposed New Housing Development for the Gaywood Area...Land next to King's Lynn Academy Site on Queen Mary Road/Parkway Gaywood. (55686588)

But concerns about the impact of the scheme on education provision were outlined in questions to a county council cabinet meeting on Monday.

Last autumn, the county authority called for more than £920,000 to be provided for around 60 extra school places at primary, secondary and sixth form levels last autumn.

But the borough claimed that would make the proposal “unviable”, although around £120,000 will be provided for sustainable transport measures.

In a written response to a question from Gaywood South councillor Rob Colwell, children’s services portfolio holder John Fisher said: “We have been working closely with our colleagues at KLWNBC regarding this planning application and understand there have been challenges to secure this scheme.

“We had amended our request for secondary place funding only (£454k) as updated data revealed that primary children can be accommodated in existing schools.

“Unfortunately, KLWNBC has not secured this contribution as part of the process and this will result in further pressure on NCC resources. We continue to work with local schools to secure sufficient school places.”

Mr Colwell said afterwards: “This blue on blue attack shows the reality of this ill-considered disaster project that local Conservative councillors are forcing on West Norfolk.

“They appear blinkered to the reality of the situation.”

West Norfolk Council says Norfolk County Council’s requests for financial contributions from the Parkway development were “thoroughly considered.”

A spokesman added: “For developments to proceed and provide much-needed homes, schemes need to be viable.

“Given the proven viability issues for this site, as outlined by Homes England Funding and the updated Local Plan Viability Review 2021, the education and library contributions were not sought as they would render the site unviable.

“Imposing obligations on a development that would render it unviable would be unreasonable and contrary to government advice.

“The county council will receive contributions for education and libraries through council tax when the homes are built: for an average Band D property that is currently just over £1,350 for the year.”



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