‘Yes’ verdict on new Pakefield High School
CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build a new 900-pupil high school at Pakefield have been given the go-ahead.
Suffolk County Council's development control committee backed the plans for Pakefield High at its meeting yesterday, despite a barrage of local opposition and objection from Waveney District Council.
But now, the plans need to be approved by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
This is because Sport England, a government body, had lodged an official objection, since the building project would reduce the amount of playing field space.
If everything goes to plan, though, the new school will be built on the site of the existing Pakefield Middle School.
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It will be one of the major developments in a reorganisation that will see education in Lowestoft being switched from three tiers to two from September next year.
Perry Linsley, head of the new school, welcomed the county council's decision, saying: 'This is about opportunities for our youngsters. It is about a future for Lowestoft.
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'I understand the concerns expressed, but I believe the school will provide youngsters with the 21st-century education that they so desperately need,' he said.
However, Graham Jermyn, a leading opponent of the proposed new school, remained convinced that the site is inadequate and that pupils faced a dangerous journey to and from the school.
'Children will face a daily journey along the main A12 London Road and the school access will also be next to the busiest roundabout in Waveney,' he said.
Waveney District Council's own planning committee lodged an official objection against the scheme, claiming that access is too close to the roundabout at the top of Bloodmoor Road and that the proposed building is too large for the site.
Members of the county council's development control committee listened to the objections but voted 8_3 to support the new Pakefield High School on the site of the existing middle school.
Suffolk County Council wants to build the school in three phases, with the first involving a new entrance off London Road, landscaping and new science, music and drama classrooms and an assembly hall being built next to the existing Pakefield Middle School so that it can reopen as a high school in September 2012 – a year later than planned because of delays caused when great crested newts were found living on the site.