Campton Academy is set to expand and move to a new site in Hitchin Road in Shefford, following approval by Central Bedfordshire Council's executive - despite concerns about travel time between villages.

Conservative Cranfield and Marston Moretaine councillor Sue Clark presented the report to the committee, saying: “This requests approval for the capital expenditure for the new school to be ready by September 2024.

“Campton is a popular small lower school with a 26 pupil admission number, which would expand to 60 following the relocation. The school will be built as a primary to convert in due course to meet local population growth projections.

“There’ll be pressure on places in this area from 2024. The cost is estimated to be £14m of which £11m will be Section 106 funding and £3m Central Bedfordshire funds. These figures are subject to tender.”

Conservative Shefford councillor Tony Brown raised concerns, saying: “It seems incredible this proposes to transport Campton and Chicksands children more than two miles to the new site, when the nearest lower school is only a mile away.

“Depending on the route the bus takes, it’s likely to pass School Lane which is the entry road to Shefford Lower School.

“Last week, 66 new homes were approved, off Greenway, at Campton, so children would be subjected to that two-mile journey on foot or by car.

“This is crazy when the new housing estate would be just a ten-minute walk through a safe subway to Shefford Lower. The benefits going there would be a healthier lifestyle, a reduction in peak hours traffic flows and financial.

“Can I suggest we install a pelican crossing on the A600 arm of the roundabout, near where it meets Ampthill Road. This would provide a safe walking route to Shefford Lower for Chicksands children of less than a mile.”

There are 120 pupils at the Rectory Road site in Campton, which will increase to 420 in Shefford. The move is subject to approval from the Department for Education’s regional director for the East of England.

The area for the school is part of the approved planning application for 150 homes on land west of Hitchin Road, Shefford.