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Representations on BMSDC Joint Local Plan Consultation Document (Interactive) - New Education Provision
OBJECT Suffolk County Council (Mr. Robert Feakes)
Regarding draft New Education Provision Policy, the County Council is concerned that this policy is not about "new" education provision, rather it is about the steps taken to protecting existing sites. There are already a set of hoops to jump through for the school and/or LEA when to dispose of surplus education sites including Secretary of State consent and restrictive covenants. Where they are the County Council sites, the County Council needs the flexibility to decide what the strategy is, including the ability to potentially sell and re-invest. The potential for education sites becoming surplus is not expected to be a common occurrence, however to support growth being set out in the emerging Local Plan and the lack of primary school places in some settlements, the idea of relocation of schools to enable expansion is a very real possibility and we would need to maximise capital receipts to reinvest. Therefore the County Council does not support this draft policy.
COMMENT Education and Skills Funding Agency (Mr Douglas McNab)
ESFA supports the principle of safeguarding land for new schools. The Ealing DPD provides useful guidance with respect to an evidence based approach to planning for new schools, securing site allocations for schools as well as example policies. A schools topic paper should be produced. Babergh and Mid Suffolk should also have regard to the Joint Policy Statement from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Education on 'Planning for Schools Development' (2011) which sets out the Government's commitment to support the development of state-funded schools and their delivery through the planning system.
COMMENT Mr Peter Powell
Applications for change of use/development of playing fields etc should be considered very critically. Need should be assessed in terms of decades not years in relation to population growth and future uses/demand. There is a recognition that pupils are engaged in too little outdoor activity and there may be a demand to revert to more outdoor activities again. You cant put a playing field back in beside a school once an estate has been built on it.
SUPPORT Mr John Bellwood
BDC should consider the provision of sixth form education in the district to prevent long commute for students to Colchester and Ipswich.