Council to step up pressure on government to open Northampton primary school by 2021

Councillors will write to the Department for Education to put pressure on them to open the delayed primary school at Buckton Fields in 2021.

Friday, 17th May 2019, 1:24 pm
The primary school has long been earmarked within the Buckton Fields development

Members of Daventry District Council this week resolved to pen a letter to the government outlining their concerns, following a motion from Councillor John Shephard on Wednesday evening (May 15).

Last month, the Government announced it had temporarily shelved its plans to open the school for 2020 on the 1,050 home site.

Councillor Shephard’s motion invites the DfE to confirm that it will ‘take the necessary steps to ensure opening of the school in September 2021’.

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He said: “Throughout the gestation of this project it has always been apparent that there would be a primary school.

“We have 250 families who bought houses in good faith from the developers that there would be a school there.”

The Preston Hedges Academy Trust, which would have run the free school, said it had been advised by the DfE that a new school ‘couldn’t be justified’ for 2020 based on the projected pupil numbers in the development and capacity in other local schools.

The primary school was a major condition of granting planning permission for the new estate, which is near Boughton in Northampton, but is within the Daventry district.

Daventry leader Cllr Chris Millar backed the motion from his Conservative colleague, saying: “We have an opportunity to build a brand new school that is needed in the area. We need to do it now or it will be an opportunity lost forever, and that would be criminal. It would be a real betrayal.”

It is understood that delivery of a new school at Buckton Fields is ‘absolutely essential’ in ensuring Northamptonshire County Council can continue to meet its statutory obligations of providing a sufficiency of school places past 2021.

An education spokesman has previously said: “We will be keeping the Buckton Fields free school project and the need for an additional primary school in the local area under review.”