Northampton school extends stay at temporary depot as delays continue with new site

A Northampton academy has been forced to extend its stay in a temporary building for a second time after continued delays with the delivery of its new school building.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:51 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 10:52 am
Councillors approved extending the temporary stay in a meeting at The Guildhall

Planning restrictions meant that The Spires Academy could only occupy the former council depot on Station Close in Great Billing up until February, having already applied to extend its stay in July 2018.

But members of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee quickly approved a variation to the planning conditions on Tuesday (January 21) which now allows the school to remain at its temporary home until May.

It comes after delays in the delivery of a permanent site at Northgate House on Sheep Street, which was approved in 2017. The delays are due to alterations being made to the car park.

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The academy, which as of 2018 had 39 pupils on its books, educates pupils aged between four and 11 who ‘exhibit social, emotional and behavioural concerns’. But its new home, which is expected to open later this year, will allow the academy to educate children up to the age of 16 and will have separate areas for both primary and secondary students.

There had been some concerns reported to the borough council that there was ‘insufficient space’ in the temporary site’s car park, which has resulted in vehicles being parked on both sides of Station Road during the school day. One resident said it created a ‘tortuous route for traffic and difficulties for commercial and emergency vehicles’.

Planning officers admitted in their report: “Concerns raised regarding impacts on parking and highway safety within the area are acknowledged.

“However, the Highway Authority [Northamptonshire County Council] raises no objection and the current works being carried out to Northgate House provide a greater level of certainty that a more permanent solution will imminently be in place.

“The impacts of the proposal in relation to highway matters are not considered to be of such severity that the application should be refused on this basis.”