Plan for Elsea Park school on hold

A NEW primary school planned for Bourne has been put on the back burner because extra places for pupils are not justified yet.

Lincolnshire County Council is waiting until next year to consider moving plans forward, despite officials saying last year that the school could be built on the Elsea Park estate within three years.

The council was in talks with the developer of Elsea Park, The Kier Group, in summer last year to build the school on the housing estate.

It was one of the conditions when the homes were given planning permission.

But Debbie Barnes, assistant director of children’s services at the council, said the plans are not being pursued for the new school at present, as projected pupil numbers for reception age intakes do not justify the need for 210 extra primary school places.

She said: “We’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and the developer is still obliged to provide a school when we require it. We will continue working with existing schools in the area to ensure appropriate places are available for pupils.

“We want to be sure that when the new school is called for there is a long-term requirement for additional places to complement existing provision and not provide surplus school places in the area or draw pupils out of existing neighbouring schools.”

The council will review the situation again in May next year when updated information is made available.

Three years ago the county council said the new school should not be built until surplus places were filled at the town’s two other primaries - Westfield and Bourne Abbey.

And it was also last year that the headteachers of each of the existing primary schools in the town hit out over plans to open a third school within the timescale that had been discussed.

Bourne Abbey Primary Academy’s Cherry Edwards and Tim Bright at Bourne Westfield said another primary could “siphon off money” from their schools and hit education standards.

It is now unknown when the school will open, which will be funded by the The Kier Group.