Uproar after Local Plan proposal to move Ickleford Primary school

North Herts District Council.

North Herts District Council. - Credit: Archant

A row has erupted over possible council plans to move a primary school as part of its proposed submission Local Plan options.

In cabinet papers North Herts District Council refers to potentially relocating Ickleford Primary School, on Arlesey Road – but a recent public meeting saw many residents strongly oppose such a plan.

The council document says there is no capacity to expand within the current school site – due to its premises being partially located within a conservation area, as well as the original school building being listed.

It adds the most appropriate solution would be for the relocation of the existing school, with additional provision to meet the requirements arising from the new development – which also includes 209 new homes to be built nearby.

However, people living nearby were alarmed by the prospect. A local resident speaking to the Comet on condition of anonymity said: “The proposal to move the school has not gone down well. The recent meeting at the village hall got very heated as you would imagine.

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“There were also lots of reservations concerning the erosion of the Green Belt, a lack of supporting infrastructure, and a substantial change in the character of the village caused by the proposed increase in housing of around 40 per cent.”

Councillor David Levett, responsible for planning, said: “We acknowledge the concerns of Ickleford residents about the proposals for the area, and in particular the education requirements an additional 209 homes would create. We will continue to work to deliver an appropriate solution for primary education in the village.”

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The council is entering into a final stage of consultation before submitting its Local Plan to the Secretary of State.

But people can still have their say by raising any concerns or any changes they want to see – as representations from the public during the consultation period will be considered by the planning inspector.

Ickleford Primary School head teacher Sue Dury told the Comet: “We have no comment to make at this time.”

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