There will be a discussion concerning proposals for a new primary school on at Fosse Road North.
Rob Thomas, Head of Education Sufficiency and Admissions at Leicester City Council presented an update on the proposal for a new primary school on Fosse Road North. The meeting was asked to note:
· The regeneration in the area would result in additional houses, more families and children. Fosse Primary and Slater Street Primary Schools were already full with a combined capacity for about 600 children.
· An advanced planning application had been submitted for a new school with 900 places; this would replace both Slater Street and Fosse Primary Schools.
· A large site was needed for the new school. Officers had looked at and assessed a number of sites; this particular site was the preferred option.
· The advanced planning application had been submitted early because there were badgers on site and a licence would be needed in order to move them. Badgers could only be moved in the Autumn.
· Subject to the advanced planning application being approved, a consultation would be carried out in the Autumn Term.
· No decisions had been made yet.
· The plan was for the new school to be opened in September 2019.
· The proposed new school would have five forms of entry in each year group which would create an additional 45 places in each year group.
· Additional places were being created in other primary schools as well.
· Any child in either of the two existing schools would be guaranteed a place in the new school.
· For every 100 new houses, the approved formula based on census information, was that there would be 28 primary school children.
· There were proposals to retain the existing Fosse school to make it into a provision for early years and the new 30 hours child care for working families. There would also be an improved sports hall which would be open to the public.
· Slater Street, as a listed building would be removed from the Education Portfolio.
· If the planning application was approved, the new school with 900 places would be the largest primary school in Leicester, but not nationally.
· Schools were generally funded per pupil and smaller schools like Slater Street Primary, with just 23 children per year group were not able to afford some of the enhancements (such as peripatetic teachers) that larger schools had.
Members of the community raised a number of comments and queries including the following:
· With 900 places, the school would be too big
· There would still be insufficient places to meet demand.
· Concerns expressed about the loss of green space; the new school should be built in a nearby brown field site.
· Concerns expressed about traffic and access and egress to the site.
· A member of the community commented that the City Mayor had said that he wanted to make the Riverside a thriving community, but the area already had a thriving neighbourhood with the Woodgate Residents Association, Woodgate Resource Centre, Woodgate Adventure Playground, Groby Road Allotments, Epworth Church and All Nations Church both of which did very good community work.
Councillor Cassidy withdrew from the meeting at this point.
The following questions and comments were raised. The Chair asked for these to be submitted to the Planning Service. Action: Democratic Support Officer
· If the new school was built, how much traffic would be generated on Groby Road, particularly at the start and end of the school day?
· What would the view be from the front of the houses on Groby Road?
· Concerns were expressed about traffic on Fosse Road North and the safety of children with the proposed school built close to the main road. It was not a good idea to have a school built on a main road.
· Further concerns expressed about the numbers of cars stopping outside the entrance.
· There were only 70 spaces for staff to park; there was no parking provision for parent/carers, so people would park on the main road.
· Concerns were expressed about access and egress to the school.
· With 900 pupils at the school there could potentially be 900 cars and nothing had been said as to how the roads would cope with the extra traffic at drop-off and collection time.
· The site was not a suitable location for the school.
· The school should not be built on green space; the closure of the cycle path would be a loss and would close up a walking route for people. The green space captured the potential to flood.
· The adventure playground and Woodgate Resource Centre, where 120 young people received music tuition were facing funding cuts. It was questioned why the council could not protect those two voluntary organisations; there were more children coming into the area and new houses would result in more council tax being paid.
· It was believed that there was a protected covenant on the site which prevented the land from being built on.
The Chair drew the discussion to a close. Attendees were asked to note that there would be a further meeting to discuss the proposals on 2 November 2017.
Councillor Cassidy returned to the meeting at the conclusion of this item of business.