Relocating Tipton school to Ottery makes ‘step forward’ following estate discussions

The clean-up operation at Tipton St. John Primary School gets underway with the help of Sidmouth fir

The clean-up operation at Tipton St. John Primary School gets underway with the help of Sidmouth firefighters. Ref sho Tipton Clean-up 03. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

Plans to relcoate Tipton St John Primary School from its current ‘risk to life’ flood plain to Ottery have taken a ‘step forward’.

Devon County Council’s Farm Estates Committee met in December to discuss recommendations to make land at Thorne Farm in Ottery ‘permanently surplus to requirement’ and used for the development to replace the current school, offer additional spaces for Ottery’s growing population and offer new residential dwellings.

Currently, Tipton St John Primary School is located in a high flood risk zone and has been identified by the Environment Agency as a ‘risk to life’.

In a report to the committee in December, Thorne Farm was described as the only ‘viable site’ and would look to transfer some 26 acres of land for the development.

Members also discussed transferring part of the site to be sold on the open market to raise ‘essential capital’ to finance construction - subject to planning approval.

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The report said: “There is currently a substantial funding gap between the capital available for the replacement school build and the forecast cost of actually building the school.

“To enable the new school to be built the county council will need to raise a significant additional capital receipt.

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“The county council is thus in early discussions with East Devon District Council over a potential outline planning application for the new school and a housing development on Thorne Farm.”

The land at Thorne Farm has been identified as potential development site in Ottery for ‘many years’ and some eight acres has been allocated within the adopted East Devon Local Plan for community or education use.

A spokesman from Devon County Council said: “We have been working with the Dioceses of Exeter because of the flood risk at Tipton St John and the decision has been to relocate the school to Ottery.

“As the town of Ottery is growing, there will be a need for more primary school places, this is now another step forward towards that aim.

“Discussions will take place between county and district councils over a potential outline planning application for the school and housing development.”

The final decision over the relocation of the school will be made by Devon County Council’s Cabinet following public consultation.

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