REVEALED: £7.2million school build and 150 home plan
PUBLISHED: 15:29 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:30 11 October 2019
A 150-home development is required to meet a £4.95million shortfall to move flood-prone Tipton St John Primary school, it has been revealed.
Devon County Council says it needs £7.2million to build the new school at Thorne Farm on the outskirts of town, on a site owned by the council.
The council has further announced the housing development would be built next to the school site to help fund the cost.
The details have come ahead of meetings to outline the proposal and public consultation before a planning application is submitted.
James McInnes, Devon County Council's cabinet member for schools, said: "We also have a growing demand for primary school places in Ottery St Mary.
"Currently neither the county council nor the diocese has any money to fund the significant shortfall to build the new school.
"Normally in a school relocation the county council would sell off the old site to help to fund the new building. But in this case that is not an option because of the flooding risk on the lower school site.
"Without some new housing development, I fear we will not be able to relocate Tipton school and remove the very real threat to the children there from flooding."
The council said the new building would be 'significantly bigger' than the existing school, with 210 places, and would take in more children from Ottery, due to the town's primary school being at capacity.
Currently 38 children from Ottery already travel to Tipton St John to go to school, dwarfing the 21 children from the village who attend it. Another nine children from West Hill are currently at school in Tipton.
Space would be reserved for future secondary school development.
Colin Butler, executive head teacher for Tipton St John Primary School, said: "We've been living with the threat of flooding at Tipton St John for some time.
"The governors have agreed to relocate the school as it is just not feasible to build a replacement in the village.
"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."
There will be a drop-in meeting where people can find out more details at Ottery St Mary Football Club from 12 noon to 7pm on October 28.
Ottery Town Council has written to residents about the upcoming extraordinary meeting at its town council offices on Wednesday (October 16).
Norfolk Property Services Ltd is seeking to move the school, which has four classes, with approximately 95 pupils, and a pre-school.
Norfolk Property Services will attend the extraordinary meeting to outline its proposals for the new school and explain its process.
Only 40 spaces will be available for members of the public at the council offices.
In the letter to residents, Councillor Roger Giles, mayor of Ottery, wrote: "The purpose of the meeting is for councillors to learn about, and ask questions about, Norfolk Property Services, (NPS) proposals for a relocated Tipton School.
"It is understood that the school would be sited to the west of Cadhay Lane, and that there would also be a substantial element of housing - we understand in excess of 100 houses."
The mayor said the council anticipate a planning application to be submitted in early 2020.
A second public meeting will be held in Tipton St John community hall on Thursday, October 17, between 5pm and 6pm.
Devon County Council will be launching a public consultation about the proposal on October 28 at www.devon.gov.uk/haveyoursay
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