‘Act now’ to get flood-prone school relocated, councillor urges Government 

Cllr Jess Bailey in flood water

Cllr Jess Bailey in the flooded grounds of Tipton St John Primary School - Credit: Jess Bailey

Severe flooding at Tipton St John Primary School last week has prompted local councillor Jess Bailey to call for urgent Government action. 

She has written to the relevant minister Baroness Barran asking for funding to enable the school to relocate to a safer site. 

Cllr Bailey (West Hill and Aylesbeare) visited the school on Thursday morning (October 21) after heavy rainfall the previous night, and said she was ‘shocked’ by the extent of the flooding, even when the waters were no longer at their highest. 

Flooding at Tipton St John Primary School

Floodwater outside the Tipton St John Primary School buildings - Credit: Jess Bailey

In her letter to Baroness Barran, she said: “There is an urgent need for the Government to fund the relocation of Tipton St John School within Tipton St John. 

“The Environment Agency advises that the site floods to a dangerous level, and has described the flood risk as life threatening to all users. 

“The Department for Education’s own consultants advise that there must be a relocation/rebuild as soon as possible to a new site at lower risk.” 

Cllr Bailey said it was ‘wrong and unfair’ that Tipton St John Primary had not qualified for funding under the Government's School Rebuilding Programme.  

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She said: “It is ridiculous that the Government has previously not taken into account flood risk when deciding which schools to fund. This has meant Tipton St John Primary School has missed out and was not one of the 100 selected schools. This must change for the next funding rounds.” 

Flood water outside primary school

Flooding at Tipton St John Primary School - Credit: Jess Bailey

There had been proposals to build a new school in Ottery St Mary to replace Tipton Primary, but it would have been part of a development that also included 150 new homes. The sale of the land to the housing developers would have paid for the school. 

The proposal went completely against the policies laid out in the local Neighbourhood Plan, in which Ottery residents had voted specifically to safeguard that site from housing. 

When the application went before East Devon District Council’s planning committee in January this year, councillors agreed with the urgent need for a new school but could not support such a dramatic departure from local planning policy. 

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