Tipton Primary relocation: planning application submitted

Tipton Primary School: should new houing be built to fund its replacement? Picture: Google

Tipton Primary School: should new houing be built to fund its replacement? Picture: Google - Credit: Google

Plans for a new school in Ottery to replace Tipton St John Primary have been submitted to East Devon District Council.

The outline application is for a £7.2million school for 210 pupils at the Thorne Farm site, owned by Devon County Council, on the outskirts of the town.

The application also includes up to 150 homes on the site, to help pay for the school.

Devon County Council said the new school is badly needed to replace the existing Tipton Primary School, which is in a flood risk area and is also full, with no capacity for new pupils.

However, most of these pupils come from Ottery St Mary, and that number is expected to rise. Figures from 2019 stated that the school had 89 pupils, of whom 21 were from Tipton and 38 from Ottery, with the rest coming from the surrounding area.

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A public consultation on the proposals was held at the end of last year, including an exhibition, meetings and an online questionnaire.

There were many objections from people living in Tipton St John, who felt that the school was the ‘hub’ of the village and its loss would damage the community.

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In its response, Devon County Council said it recognised this, but the disadvantage should be balanced against the benefit of ensuring a sustainable future for the school, which could not be relocated within Tipton.

There were also objections to the housing development, and concerns about extra traffic and demand on local services.

The county council said there would be traffic management measures, and the £1million of Community Infrastructure Levy generated by the development could be reinvested in local services and infrastructure.

Objectors also claimed that the flood risk to the existing school had been exaggerated, and that work in 2017 on the Melcombe Brook had reduced the threat; the county council quoted the Environment Agency’s assessment that these measures would not protect the school from a major flooding event.

Tipton St John Primary’s executive headteacher Colin Butler said he and the school governors support the relocation: “This proposal would more than double the number of children who could benefit from what we offer as a Church of England school, and mean all our pupils could enjoy bright, new, purpose-built classrooms and all the ancillary facilities a new development can offer.”

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