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Council wants review after Lakenheath school plans given go-ahead

A parish council is to ask for a judicial review into Suffolk County Council’s decision to agree plans for a school under the route of a flight path.

Lakenheath Parish Council had strongly rejected the application for a 420-place primary and 30-space pre-school, on Station Road, as they felt noise from planes returning to RAF Lakenheath would affect the school’s children.

Councillor Hermione Brown, chairman of the planning sub-committee for the council, said: “Lakenheath Parish Council has made it very clear that we are not against modest housing growth – in fact we would welcome planned, phased, low-level, sustainable development.

An artist’s impression of what the new primary school could look like in Station Road
An artist’s impression of what the new primary school could look like in Station Road

“The proposed site for the school, however, is not a suitable site. Suffolk County Council has failed to carry out its legal duties to have regard to the best interests of children and failed to consider its public sector equality duty.”

The school is part of four planning applications, with a total of 663 homes in and around Lakenheath, which have been given permission.

Cllr Brown added: “A new school in this location will result in inferior learning opportunities and creates a situation for young learners which contravenes the strong emphasis on outdoor play as part of the Early Years curriculum.

“The parish council and current primary school governors have repeatedly raised these concerns in its objections from as far back as July 2016 when site options were being considered.”

The planning report said the existing primary school is close to capacity and does not have any space to expand and that the new primary school alone is expected to create 36 full-time jobs.

The report added: “The school buildings have been designed so that some spaces can be used flexibly. The buildings can also be adapted as the school grows and the curriculum changes. Provision is made for out-of-hours use of the main hall and studio spaces by the local community.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “It would not be appropriate for us comment.

“We would be happy to comment once a judicial review has taken place and a verdict has been reached.”

Work on the site is expected to start in 2019 and be opened in September 2020.

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