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Tadpole Farm best site for new school
THE Tadpole Farm development has been identified as the best of five possible sites for a new primary school in North Swindon.
Swindon Council needs to create 90 extra reception places in North Swindon from September 2014.
Cabinet will meet on Wednesday to progress plans to provide 30 of these places (one form of entry) through the permanent expansion of Orchid Vale Primary School.
The council initially proposed to provide the remaining 60 by building a new school on a site within the boundary of Mouldon Hill Country Park, with the use of the country park car park as an access point.
However, following opposition and the recommendations of alternative sites in a consultation, Swindon Council says the front-runner is to provide extra school places at the allocated site at Tadpole Farm, subject to agreement of the landowner, Crest Nicholson, which has permission for an estate of nearly 1,700 homes.
Under the existing legal agreement, the developer must open a two form of entry primary school on the site by the time the 564th house is occupied – but this plan would mean there would be an extra two forms of entry at the site, which would be available much sooner.
Coun David Renard, the cabinet member for children’s services, said one of the options was to build a two-form of entry school, with the capacity to expand it later to four forms, while another was to build a two form of entry school and then another, possibly alongside the first, when it was needed.
He said: “The discussions we need to have with them is about whether we can provide an extra two forms of entry on that site and how that changes the shape of the whole development. That’s all part of the ongoing discussions. If we deliver that extra two forms of entry, that would change the current planning approval.
“The discussion is around the land usage but the issue is primarily around access. If you build a school on the planned site, parents will need access off Tadpole Lane because a road will need to be built which the developer would eventually build anyway.
“But we would need the road earlier so the discussions are around how we get the road in earlier and who pays for it.”
The other sites were: The original Mouldon Hill site, another field nearer to the main entrance within Mouldon Hill Country Park; land in Redhouse Village Centre which was originally earmarked for a pub and green space alongside Clary Road.
Coun Mark Dempsey, the deputy Labour leader, said: “Following our consultation with residents, Labour believes the best possible site for the school is Tadpole Farm. “This site is already designated to hold a school anyway and is close to Oakhurst and Redhouse, which is the area most in need of more school places.
“This site would also provide the flexibility for the primary school to expand, should demand for school places require this. We would therefore support the council taking part in negotiations with Crest Nicholson, the Tadpole Farm developer, to secure this site.”