Plans for new classroom at flood-risk Sidbury school
- Credit: Archant
Early years pupils at Sidbury Primary School will get a new classroom – if planning bosses agree there is nowhere else at lower risk of flooding it could be built and approve an application.
The proposals, for a building with toilets, a group room and a cloakroom, also include an external play area with raised decking, a new ramp and a new hall store.
The application says the school has been asked to accommodate more pupils and the development will mean locals have to travel shorter distances – potentially cutting traffic on a busy road.
It also cites an Environment Agency assessment that judges Sidbury Primary School to be ‘one of the most at risk of flooding in Devon’ but says it is not viable to relocate.
The application says: “The proposed development site is regarded as a ‘more vulnerable’ development that encroaches onto land that is currently zoned as flood zone three, where there is a ‘high’ probability of flooding.
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“In this case the flooding risks largely emanate from the nearby River Sid, Lincombe Goyle and flood flows passing down the A375.”
To build in an area at risk of flooding, an applicant must use a so-called ‘sequential test’ to show the development could not happen elsewhere.
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The plans say: “Applying a sequential test realises that it is not economically viable to relocate the school. The site is already a well-established school and has limited land in a lower risk flood area to expand onto.”
The school has a detailed evacuation plan to avoid children being put at risk of flooding. It is also located in the village’s conservation zone and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
According to the application, the school, rated ‘good’ by Ofsted inspectors, has gone from strength to strength and grown from fewer than 80 pupils five years ago to 150 today.
It says there are calls to add a second pedestrian access and ‘despite numerous endeavours’ there is still no crossing patrol to help children and parents across the busy road.
East Devon District Council will decide the fate of the application.