Plans paving way for Clacton County High School expansion
PLANS to pave the way for a massive expansion of a high school in Clacton have been recommended for approval by planners.
Blueprints were submitted for change of use as part of a land swap between Tendring Council and Essex County Council.
Clacton County High School wants to expand to cater for the growing number of pupils leaving primary school in the town.
It has been working with County Hall on the plans, which would see its sixth form relocated to the Tendring Education Centre, based at the site of the former Bishop’s Park College in Jaywick Lane.
The move will create room for the expansion at the school’s site in Walton Road, including a new ten-classroom block and four-court sports hall.
Tendring Council’s cabinet agreed last year to transfer land from the neighbouring Vista Road recreation ground in order to increase the playing field space at the school.
In exchange County Hall is giving Tendring Council extra land at Rush Green in Clacton and will pay for a series of improvements, including a new all-weather 3G pitch at Clacton Leisure Centre.
The planning application, which will go before the council’s planning committee on Tuesday, include the change of use of 4.5 acres of existing open space land next to the school playing fields in Vista Road and the construction of weldmesh metal fencing, as well the change of use of 3.4 acres of school playing fields in Jaywick Lane to open space land.
A report by Tendring Council planners said: “These two planning applications are linked and are necessary to secure a school site of adequate size to allow for the expansion of Clacton High School Academy.
“Overall, it is considered that the proposals are aimed at improving educational attainment within the town by increasing the campus at Clacton County High Academy, and with the mitigation measures it is considered that overall the benefits of the proposals outweigh the other effects.
“The planning applications would not result in any harm to the character or appearance of the area or highway safety.
“In the absence of any objections from Sport England, the proposals are considered to be acceptable.”
The district council received three letters of objection to the plans for Vista Road, raising concerns about the loss of mature trees and public open space, labelling the land swap a “token gesture”.
But Neil Gallagher, executive headteacher previously said the move is needed as demand for places at the school has outstripped capacity for several years.
“This is a truly exciting development for the school and the town,” he added.
“Being able to extend our provision, particularly at post-16, will make a huge difference to the opportunities for our young people locally.”
Market Field Special School is also currently operating on the Jaywick Lane site and this would continue alongside County High’s sixth form centre.
The former Bishops Park College, which cost £25million to build, opened in 2002, but the failing school was amalgamated into Clacton Coastal Academy in 2009.