Plans for school at Moreton Hall get the green light after being considered for second time

Visualisation of new secondary school at Moreton Hall - Image produced by Concertus Design and Property Consultants
Visualisation of new secondary school at Moreton Hall - Image produced by Concertus Design and Property Consultants
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Plans to build a secondary school at Moreton Hall in Bury St Edmunds have been approved by councillors after they were considered for a second time.

The proposals for the academy, off Lady Miriam Way, were brought back to Suffolk County Council’s development control committee after their shock rejection last month.

The plans had been refused due to concerns over the safety of pupils accessing and being dropped off at the school site as well as its proximity to Rougham Airfield and nearby residential housing.

However, this afternoon the plans were given the go-ahead after the county council supplied additional information to address these concerns.

It also outlined scope for a 13 car lay-by in Lady Miriam Way for pupil drop-off.

During today’s meeting, Cllr Jo Spicer said: “There is a great deal to be extremely positive about and it is welcome to hear general support for a school at this site.

“It is needed and it is in the right place.

“From my point of view the issues we talked about in the last meeting about the height and proximity of the nearest houses I think we have satisfied it is a distance that is not unusual.”

Councillor Andrew Stringer said that prior concerns about the look of the school has been mitigated by additional information on the landscaping and tree planting at that the site and that the modern look of the building was ‘a matter of taste’.

“We have had many in the past that have been quite bog standard,” he said

“It is nice we have one that is not bog standard and that has a proper design, which I welcome.

“I think modern architecture is a thing of taste.”

Concerns were again raised at today’s meeting about the school’s proximity to Rougham airfield and the safety issues that may bring.

But Councillor Graham Newman disagreed that it was a serious danger, calling it a ‘Red Herring’.

He said: “Everything in life is a risk.

“The chance of a child getting killed in a road traffic incident is far, far, far greater than we would ever see with this flight school.

“It is a red herring.”

The school is due to open next September as the majority of the town moves to two-tier education.

Earlier this week the council revealed Samuel Ward Academy Trust is being put forward as the new provider to run the school after the National Education Trust pulled out.

Following today’s decision, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet member for Education and Skills, Cllr Lisa Chambers said: “I am very pleased that the committee members have shown their support and approval for this application.

“We will now notify the Secretary of State to inform that we are moving forward with the planning permission process and to check whether he wishes to look at the scheme in any way.

“I am glad that we have sufficiently addressed and satisfied the previous concerns of the committee in relation to parent drop off points, site design and questions concerning proximity to Rougham airfield.

“It is great news that we can now work towards this development and will be a great relief for families who are due to join the school when it opens for the first time in September 2016.”