Sixth form plan for King's Lynn estate community hub backed by councillors
Councillors have approved plans to create a new sixth form facility for a Lynn complex needs school.
Bosses of the trust which runs the Churchill Park school have told councillors that the scheme for the Fairstead Community Centre site would create vital extra teaching capacity.
But a long-serving representative warned the scheme would put a "blight" on the area by creating additional traffic and parking demands.
Members of West Norfolk Council's planning committee unanimously approved an application for a partial change of the use of the centre when they met on Thursday.
The site will be used to provide a sixth form centre, with capacity for up to 20 students.
Glyn Hambling, chief executive of Churchill Park's sponsor, the Unity Education Trust, told the meeting the application was of "paramount importance".
He said the trust wanted to build a partnership with the council and Alive West Norfolk over use of the centre.
And he insisted the application would provide capacity the school does not have on its own site.
He added: "We want to place these young people at the centre of the community."
But, despite Mr Hambling's assurances that staff would still park on the main school site, ward councillor Margaret Wilkinson said it was "common sense" that workers would use the centre's parking provision instead.
She maintained she wanted the scheme to succeed, but argued more parking was needed at the site "rather than try and cheat young people with special educational needs".
She added: "I will not be lectured by an education department that for many years ignored the plight of children with special education needs throughout the western area of the county.
"County Hall and the Highways department are asking you and your committee to blight land owned by the borough council."
But committee member Jo Rust said the application offered an "exciting opportunity" to extend provision.
She said the site was already established as being suitable for educational use because of the previous operation of a nursery.
And she warned: "I don't think that by rejecting this application we would be doing them any favours."