Multi-million pound plans to expand Honiton Primary School win council approval

Drawings of the new classroom at Honiton Primary School. Photo: Devon County Council

Drawings of the new classroom at Honiton Primary School. Photo: Devon County Council - Credit: Archant

Multi-million pound plans to expand Honiton Primary School have received unanimous backing from county chiefs.

The scheme will see extra classrooms built at the school in Clapper Lane as part of what Devon County Council (DCC) calls a ‘phased expansion.’

The project will raise the school’s capacity from 420 to 630, in one phase at a cost of approximately £2.7million.

The scheme will be funded by £1.5million met from a Section 106 agreement regarding Baker Estates’ Hayne Lane development and £1.2m from the council’s own funds.

DCC’s Development Management Committee voted unanimously to approve the scheme, despite objections from East Devon District Council, Honiton Town Council, and Sport England.

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The objections say that the scheme would lead to a loss of sport pitches in the town, with Devon County Council’s planning officers acknowledging that the proposal will impact upon 21 per cent of the overall playing field area.

Cllr Phil Twiss, the ward member and who is also a governor of the school said: “The main consideration is whether the educational needs of the town outweigh the amenity of local residents, a loss of playing field space, and impact of highways with an increased flow of traffic.

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“The loss of 21 per cent of playing fields is significant, but there are proposals by the adjoining Honiton Community College for an all-weather, synthetic turf pitch for both educational and community use which would increase capacity at all times of the year, and access to this would offset the loss.

“On balance, the merits of approval significantly outweigh refusal.

The playing fields will be for an educational purpose and not disposed of for housing and it is unanimously supported by governors and the teaching staff.”

The committee was told that there are currently 1,024 primary school pupils living in the Honiton town catchment area, served by Honiton Primary School and Littletown Primary Academy, but only 841 pupils attend these two schools and the remainder attend the village schools in the rural locality.

Recommending approval, chief planner Mike Deaton, said: “It is considered that there is a demonstrable need for this facility given the lack of alternative sites with the capacity for expansion.”

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