Expansion plans submitted for three Letchworth schools

THREE schools in Letchworth GC are set for expansion after planning applications were submitted this week.

Wilbury Junior School, Icknield Infant School and Lordship Farm Primary School are all due to increase their numbers if the proposals get the go-ahead.

Icknield Infant in Archers Way could see an extra 10 places from September 2013 under plans to build a single-storey extension to accommodate a classroom and hard play area. An existing modular classroom separate from the main building would be retained for a further five years.

The proposals also include a new two-storey six classroom block to be joined on to the existing Wilbury Junior site in Bedford Road to accommodate the extra students moving on from the primary school in 2016.

Two modular classrooms on the Wilbury site would be temporary relocated with three further modular classrooms removed once the work is complete.

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Numbers at Lordship Farm in Fouracres could rise from 51 to 60 next September, with a single storey two classroom building, together with five additional car parking spaces, put forward under the plans.

The proposals by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) come less than five years after the closure of both Lannock Primary School and Westbury Primary School due to a perceived lack of numbers.

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Plans have been submitted to turn the former Lannock site in Whiteway into a residential care home while a planning application to build 38 residential homes on the site in West View was approved in January 2011.

Reacting to the expansion plans via Twitter, Gareth Tranter wrote: “It’s a kick in the teeth to the poor schools which closed down due to ‘under subscription’, no?”

Rebecca Leek said: “Schools are working extremely hard and will do the best they can. But it’s a worrying trend. And the ones they closed?”

A spokesman for HCC said: “Current pupil forecasts indicate a growing demand for primary school places across Hertfordshire and Letchworth is one of the areas in the county experiencing an increase in its reception-age population.

“A public consultation on the expansion proposals has been undertaken for each school, with the majority of respondents in favour of proposals for each site. The schools will benefit from improved facilities and will provide more places at local schools for local children, which remains one of the county council’s priorities.”

A recommendation to approve the plans will be discussed at Cabinet on Monday and, if agreed, a four-week consultation period will follow.

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