Call to back new school plan for youth centre site
COUNCILLORS have been urged to give planning permission for a youth centre in Brislington to be turned into a new junior school.
They will decide on Wednesday whether to give consent for Wicklea Youth Centre in Wick Road to be demolished and the site used for junior pupils from nearby St Anne's Primary School which would be turned into an infants' school.
Planning officer Lewis Cook says in a report that the council carried out a review of the primary school two years ago and decided to increase the size to a three-form intake.
"The existing school is located on a very cramped site with no scope for any significant expansion," the report says. "Therefore an additional site was required."
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The new school would be housed in a two-storey building, providing six classrooms along with a school hall, offices and kitchen.
The building would include a small area for community use and which would also house a multi-gym.
A multi-use games area would be provided on the site as well as a soft play area and parking for 20 cars.
The new school would be located in a similar position to the existing youth centre building and fronting onto Wick Road.
The report says the youth centre, which was built in the mid-1980s and which has also been used by community groups, is now being run down.
The plans have led to 13 objections and seven supporting comments.
Among the reasons against the new school are:
â It would lead to the loss of an important community facility;
â A new school should be sited on football pitch at St Anne's Park;
â A new school is not justified by current or projected pupil numbers;
â The development of green space would be a loss of amenity;
â Highway safety reasons.
Those in favour say:
â A new school is urgently needed because the existing one is overcrowded;
â The new school would provide community facilities and be a benefit to the community.
The planning officer has responded to claims that additional pupil places are not needed in the area.
Mr Cook says there will be a shortfall of 3,500 primary places by 2016.
He adds: "It is clearly unsatisfactory that currently the school provides less junior spaces than infant spaces, requiring at least 15 children to relocate schools.
"The increase in capacity at St Anne's Primary School is part of a programme of delivery of primary school places across the city to meet the identified demand."
He concludes: "It is noted that the proposal will result in some loss of community floorspace and whilst the proposed highway works would preserve highway safety, there will be some inconvenience to road users.
"This has to be balanced against the benefits of providing additional school places in the area."