Second site considered for West Norfolk village school
A second site is now being considered as the new home of a West Norfolk village school, officials have admitted.
Delays in the planning process are being blamed for the review of the long-awaited relocation of Gayton Primary School.
But county education chiefs say their preferred option is still to develop a site at the junction of Back Street and Winch Road, where plans for a new building were first outlined almost three years ago.
A decision on that proposal had been expected at a planning meeting in January, only for the scheme to be deferred on the eve of the debate.
Since then, discussions have been continuing in a bid to resolve what officials believe is the main sticking point, relating to ditch maintenance, in response to concerns raised previously by consultees.
In a statement this week, Norfolk County Council said: “We have been pursuing a planning application for the replacement primary school for Gayton, which remains our preferred option.
“However determination of this application has been delayed for some months, and as such we have identified an alternative site, which had previously been considered in the original site appraisal process.
“We now feel it appropriate to revisit this as an option and have commissioned high-level site appraisal to determine if this site could be suitable should we fail to achieve planning permission on the preferred site.
“We remain committed to providing Gayton with a modern and enlarged primary school and therefore consider a more detailed appraisal of this site is a necessary approach.”
The possible alternative is understood to be a site off Springvale, which is owned by the county council and where a number of surveys are now set to be undertaken.
The relocation plan would allow for 210 pupils to be taught at the school, plus a nursery with room for more than 50 youngsters.
Supporters say the new building is desperately needed to accommodate both current and future demand, though residents have raised concerns about flood risk and traffic impacts.
Planning permission to retain temporary buildings at the school’s current Lynn Road home, which have been used since it became a through primary in 2011, runs for another two years.