Substantial plans to build a new 1,200-place school in Nottingham have been given the green light despite objections from some councillors that the development “looks like a prison” and may lead to “horrendous” traffic.
The new school will be built on the site of Nottingham College’s former Clarendon campus in Pelham Avenue near the Forest Recreation Ground.
Proposals were submitted by the Department for Education and approved by Nottingham City Council’s planning committee by four supporting votes to three votes against.
Two councillors abstained.
It will operate as the Bluecoat Trent Academy, a school run by the Archway Learning Trust, and is expected to open in September 2024.
Cllr Ethan Radford (Lab), who represents Bulwell, and Cllr Angela Kandola (Lab), for the Berridge ward, feared the development may lead to more congestion on the busy Mansfield Road.
Cllr Radford said: “I am not convinced on the traffic conditions. I agree with the points colleagues have made, that is a horrendously congested junction, we are going to have a lot of kids using public transport and it is going to put an enormous amount of strain on the public transport there.
“Anyone asked to use that ring-road for the morning or evening commute will tell you how painful it would be to shove hundreds plus of extra commuters into that.”
Cllr Kandola also raised issue with the building’s architecture.
“It looks like a prison,” she told the committee before stating it had left her “underwhelmed”.
But council officer Nigel Turpin argued the development is a school and must be built to a strict budget.
Both councillors voted against the proposals alongside Basford’s Cllr Salma Mumtaz.
Once built the school is expected to have pupils from ages 11 to 16, including years seven to 11, with about 240 pupils per year cohort.
Roughly 70 members of staff would be employed at the school, who will be able to share 48 parking spaces.
In response to the traffic worries council officer Lisa Guest said: “That is something we will definitely look at when we look at the details, again we would be hoping to address some of those through the travel plan.
“The issue we have with this application is the transport assessment, along with the traffic assessment that we did on this site, did not warrant from our perspective additional works and highway improvements.
“What that means is, yes, there are probably existing concerns but this development will not add on to those existing concerns to the extent that they are required to do traffic signal works or any additional highway works.”
Demolition of the former Clarendon campus began earlier this year after Nottingham College moved to its new city centre hub.
Before the vote councillors were given advice that they must make a “compromise” and decide between “vitally needed” school places and capacity and the impact on the locality.
Ward councillors will be consulted on the plans going forward and they were given the go-ahead following the vote.