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'Hundreds of years in the making' School to double in size as £4m expansion given go ahead

PUBLISHED: 17:03 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 11 October 2019

Artist's impressions of the new Hethersett Junior School building. The school has submitted plans to expand to an all-through primary school. Picture: NPS Group

Artist's impressions of the new Hethersett Junior School building. The school has submitted plans to expand to an all-through primary school. Picture: NPS Group

NPS Group

A vision to double the size of a school with a £4m expansion has been approved, after designs were overhauled to appease neighbours.

Head of Hethersett Junior School, Matthew Parslow-Williams, said the expansion had been hundreds of years in the making. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHead of Hethersett Junior School, Matthew Parslow-Williams, said the expansion had been hundreds of years in the making. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Councillors voted to approve plans to expand Hethersett Junior School, enabling it to become an all-through, 420-place primary and doubling the current capacity of 240 pupils.

Headteacher Matthew Parslow-Williams said getting the go ahead was "a major milestone" for the school.

He said: "We are really excited about this journey, it's a fantastic school with lots already going on. The school has seen a lot of changes in the 200 years since it opened, and this milestone has been a couple of hundred years in the making. It means people will have a choice of primary schools for the first time."

A date is yet to be confirmed for work to start on the expansion, which will see a standalone classroom block built to accommodate the eight new classrooms needed, and remodelling work to the existing school.

David Bills, Conservative county councillor for Humbleyard. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.David Bills, Conservative county councillor for Humbleyard. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

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Mr Parslow-Williams said the school would look at various options to cut down on disruption to existing students, including staggered lunch breaks.

Norfolk County Council's planning committee was due to make a decision on the proposal last month, but deferred it after hearing neighbours' concerns that the expansion of the school, off Queens Road, would overshadow their gardens.

But after meeting with the council's own children's services department, new plans were drawn up to reduce the encroachment by changing the placement of the extension.

Mr and Mrs Turberfield, who live behind the school on Haconsfield, said they were relieved the changes had been made and handed the chairman of the planning committee, Colin Foulger, a hand-written letter thanking the council for its support.

Hethersett is due to see increasing growth in the coming years, with 1,200 new homes approved to be built in the village.

County councillor David Bills, who represents the Humbleyard division, said: "Hethersett and the surrounding area is growing and its necessary for us to plan for that. This is what Hethersett needs. Thank you to everyone involved for working this out so quickly so we can produce this much needed facility."

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