'Why is North Walsham Norfolk's forgotten town?' - fears over school places
PUBLISHED: 16:05 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:05 20 January 2020
North Walsham is in danger of becoming the "forgotten town" of Norfolk, a councillor has warned, after it was not included on a list of areas which could need new schools to cope with rising numbers of new homes.
Norfolk County Council recently approved a list of locations which are likely to need new schools in the years ahead, as thousands of new homes are due to be built,
The list of places likely to need new schools includes Thetford, North Norwich, Attleborough, West Winch, Wymondham, Cringleford, Hethersett, Bradwell, Fakenham, Long Stratton, Blofield/Brundall, Poringland and Hellesdon.
However, at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's full council on Monday, a county councillor questioned why North Walsham was not listed in the report, which was recently agreed by the council's cabinet.
He said thousands of homes could potentially be built in North Walsham and there was a need for a new primary school.
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Eric Seward, Liberal Democrat councillor for North Walsham East, said: "I could not see any reference in the report to North Walsham, even though it is earmarked in the district council's draft local plan as a growth town with up to 2,000 new houses and where it is acknowledged a new primary school will be required.
"This is known to council officers, so why was North Walsham omitted from the report?
"Why is North Walsham Norfolk's forgotten town?"
John Fisher, Conservative cabinet member for children's services, said: "The officers are fully aware of where expansion will be and, as local plans are produced, exactly what the predicted house and pupil numbers will be.
"At the moment, North Walsham is being worked on. We haven't got any specific plans at the minute, but as they do come on-line, as houses come on-line, I can assure all councillors here we are fully up to speed and will have new schools in place and the funding for new schools as soon as the relevant numbers are present in the community."
However, speaking after the meeting, Mr Seward said: "The reply I received was totally inadequate. It was suggested the need for a new school was still being worked upon.
"If North Walsham is to have a new school in time it needs to be in the council's future expenditure plans now."