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Ambitious plans for a new secondary school in Wisbech up for consultation

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Have your say on designs for a new secondary school for Wisbech at one of two drop in consultation events in January.

New school site off Gadds Lane/Barton Road in Wisbech -. (5877541)
New school site off Gadds Lane/Barton Road in Wisbech -. (5877541)

The purpose of these pre planning application meetings is to capture the views of the local community on the design of the school as well as thoughts on transport and access arrangements.

Cambridgeshire County Council, with design and build partner Kier Construction, will be holding events to seek views on the proposed Fenland Education Campus from 3pm to 7pm on Wednesday January 9. The two simultaneous events will be held at Wisbech St Mary’s Community Centre and at the Queen Mary Centre, in Queen’s Road, Wisbech.

The 600-place Secondary School will be built on land owned by the council and will serve the current pupil population in the villages to the north and west of Wisbech and those living in Wisbech town west of the River Nene. It will also enable the council to meet the future need for places arising from new residential developments in the town.

The site on the western edge of the town off Barton Road was one of a number of potential options in and around Wisbech considered in detail by the council. It was selected for the following reasons:

It is well-placed to respond to the housing growth proposed in the Fenland Local Plan and the proposed Garden Town - supporting the strategic development of the town and responding to future population growth.

New school site off Gadds Lane/Barton Road in Wisbech -. (5877539)
New school site off Gadds Lane/Barton Road in Wisbech -. (5877539)

It has the potential to reduce the number of cross river trips in Wisbech from west to east as the catchment area of the Thomas Clarkson Academy includes the area of the town to the west of the river and the villages to the north and west of the town.

It is the only one large enough to include purpose-built accommodation for 60 pupils with Social Emotional and Mental Health needs. This will enable the TBAP Unity Academy to relocate from their current leased site in Wisbech.

It is owned by the council so time consuming and potentially costly land acquisition is avoided. Sufficient land is available to enable the secondary school to be increased in size in future and to accommodate a new primary school to provide for additional school places that would be required when the planned development of west Wisbech occurs.

Councillor Samantha Hoy, vice-chairman of the council’s children and young people committee and county councillor for Wisbech East said, “I would encourage as many people as possible from Wisbech and the surrounding villages to come along to one of the two events to find out more about the proposal and to share their views.

“It will increase the secondary school options in the town expanding parental choice and providing much needed provision for the west of Wisbech helping to resolve traffic problems in the town. It also provides an opportunity to enhance provision for children with social, emotional and mental health issues by enabling the TBAP Unity Academy to relocate from its current unsuitable leased facilities.

Plans are being drawn up for a new secondary school in Wisbech. (5899112)
Plans are being drawn up for a new secondary school in Wisbech. (5899112)

“We are particularly keen to gather views on transport and access to the site so that this feeds into our proposals. In January we will meeting with our Highways team to look at transport survey data and undertake initial scoping. Any proposed changes to road layouts and junctions will need to pass a Highway Authority Safety Audit.”

Subject to planning permission, construction will begin in autumn 2019 with TBAP Unity Academy moving into their new accommodation in late autumn 2020 and the Secondary School ready for occupation by September 2021.

Plans can be viewed on a new project website which will be regularly updated http://www.kier-constructioneastern.co.uk/home/fenlandeducationcampus/

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