A new campus-style school development comprising a new Lady Bay Primary School, a brand new third secondary school – and extra capacity needed for Rushcliffe School is planned for Regatta Way.
A planning application is expected to be submitted in August 2021 with a suggested start date for the builds of January 2022.
At a meeting on 12th February 2020 Nottinghamshire County Council Policy Committee received a report that outlined unmet primary school place demand in the West Bridgford planning area.
The report highlights that the existing Lady Bay Primary School could not be expanded to meet its share of the projected demand due to the restricted nature of its site.
It was anticipated that new secondary and primary schools could open between 2023-2025.
It was approved that the Children’s and Young Peoples capital programme be varied by £445,000 to enable detailed analysis, site surveys and feasibility studies to be undertaken to determine the deliverability and estimated costs for the proposed construction in the West Bridgford planning area of a new secondary school and a relocated and enlarged Lady Bay Primary School.
The wider Rushcliffe and West Bridgford are areas of high housing growth and they continue to attract families relocating into the area and the relocation of Lady Bay Primary School would enable its expansion.
Even with the recent opening of Rosecliffe Spencer Academy for the Edwalton developments projections still indicate a shortage of primary school places of 115 by 2024-25.
At its meeting on 13th May 2020 Policy Committee also considered a report on the need for further expansion of Rushcliffe School to 12 forms of entry as part of proposals, along with the proposed third secondary school, to ensure a sufficiency of school places in the West Bridgford planning area by September 2025.
A number of potential sites were originally considered as identified on the attached plan and judged against criteria such as location, land ownership, constraints and future development within the area.
This led to three sites being considered for further consideration against additional criteria including planning policies, access and strategic transport, nature conservation, built heritage and other observations. The sites considered further were land at Adbolton playing fields (site A), land at Regatta Way (site C/D) and land at Tollerton Lane, Gamston (site F).
West Bridgford Football Club’s ground is also on land near this location, it is expected that the club and ground will continue to be part of these plans and will remain in place, this requires further engagement between the football club and the councils. The sports ground is also the home of Gedling and Sherwood Cricket Club and the Gedling Cricket Academy.
Following due consideration against all the criteria it was concluded that the Council owned land off Regatta Way in West Bridgford provides the most suitable option for a number of reasons as summarised below
• Close proximity to Lady Bay community and accessible on foot, cycle and public transport routes for current and future pupils;
• The Tollerton Lane site would only be capable of taking Secondary School pupils for the area and so unable to achieve the benefits outlined in this report of building and operating both schools as a campus;
• Significant infrastructure required to enable the crossing of the A52 by pupils from the Lady Bay, Gamston and West Bridgford areas which is not at present adequately provided for and is still at an early stage of planning in terms of the wider development at Tollerton and Gamston;
• Sufficient size to house both of the schools in a campus style development; and,
• The land is already within the Council’s ownership and development could be progressed for provision in the timescale necessary to meet the pressure on school places.
The councils says the existing Lady Bay primary school is unsuitable to meet future education requirements.
The age and moreover the Listed status of one of the main buildings is proving to be highly restrictive to the required expansion of the school.
Indeed the school has outgrown its existing accommodation some years ago and consequently, portable buildings have been utilised for many years.
More recently, the Council has experienced obstacles at a planning level in the attempted replacement of these portable buildings and a refurbishment of these has needed to suffice.
Beyond this, the accommodation of the heritage building is restrictive to the needs of modern-day education with an inherent inflexibility to deliver modern education teaching methods such as the provision of group and intervention spaces.
The significant separation of the school and its playing field facilities is a further negative aspect to the existing arrangements.
Due to the small footprint of the current site, the listed building and planning constraints makes a replacement school on the existing site almost impossible. It is therefore apparent that the requirement for a replacement Lady Bay primary school within proximity to the current site is becoming an increasingly important issue.
Following the analysis of sites for a replacement primary school and new Secondary School in West Bridgford, the land at Regatta Way has clear advantages over and above all other potential sites in the vicinity for this requirement.
The Council has investigated and explored all other options and is satisfied that this scenario presents the best solution available and it is recommended that further work is now undertaken to progress a planning application for the preferred site.
Due to there being some outstanding survey and design work to complete and the need to engage with all stakeholders and existing tenants, it is recommended that a future report be brought back to Committee outlining progress to date and seeking further funding for the next design stages.
The proposals highlighted within this report will require a further £980,000 of funding to enable further design work. This figure is made up of £500,000 of funds required to enable the new Secondary School, West Bridgford and Ladybay Primary School to be developed and £480,000 will be required for detailed designs to be developed for the Rushcliffe School to enable a planning application to be submitted to the Council (subject to agreement in respect of the final design). All of the funding identified will be allocated from the Nottinghamshire basic need allocation.
The matter, plans and funding will be discussed at a Nottinghamshire County Council Policy Committee meeting on 17 March.