School to expand to meet demand for growing pupil numbers in town
PUBLISHED: 08:05 22 August 2019
A Dunmow primary school could be set to expand in order to accommodate 60 extra pupils over the next two years, "to help meet an immediate need for school places in the area".
County councillors will consider proposals for two temporary classrooms to be built at Dunmow St Mary's Primary School at a development and regulation committee meeting tomorrow (Friday).
The application has come forward after plans for a new school in the area did not progressed as quickly as anticipated.
An Essex County Council (ECC) spokesman said: "Over the past few years a number of new homes have been built in Great Dunmow and the surrounding area. Recognising the likely rise in demand for primary school places this could mean as a result, we have worked with Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and developers to secure potential sites for new schools at Smith's Farm and Woodside Way. Unfortunately these housing developments have not progressed as quickly as anticipated and therefore neither new school site has yet been made available.
"Whilst we continue to work closely with UDC to assess further medium term options, it is essential that sufficient school places are delivered to meet the immediate potential demand."
This September and September 2020, Dunmow St Mary's will admit 90 children into Reception, thereafter reverting back to 60 students per year.
According to planning documents prepared in support of the application, which was submitted by Essex County Council, it is unlikely that a new primary school in Dunmow can be built until 2022.
A report prepared for the committee by the chief planning officer, reads: "It is considered appropriate to grant planning permission for the provision of a double class base for a temporary period of eight years as it would allow the school to provide additional teaching accommodation to help meet an immediate need for school places in the area."
Under the proposals, a temporary standalone unit would be built on the western boundary of the school which would contain the two additional classrooms. As well as this, the council is seeking permission for an extension which would provide a special educational needs group room. ECC also wants to build another extension to provide a first aid room and additional storage.