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New school edges nearer after council agrees to spend £1.2m to buy site

PUBLISHED: 14:06 07 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:06 07 October 2019

Easton College, outside Norwich. Norfolk County Council is proposing to purchase land near the college site to build a new specialist school. Picture: Mike Page

Easton College, outside Norwich. Norfolk County Council is proposing to purchase land near the college site to build a new specialist school. Picture: Mike Page

© Mike Page all rights reserved. Before any use is made of this image including display, publication, broadcast, syndication or

The green light has been given for Norfolk County Council to spend £1.2m to buy a site on which to build a new special needs school.

Margaret Dewsbury, Conservative Norfolk county councillor for Hingham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.Margaret Dewsbury, Conservative Norfolk county councillor for Hingham. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

County councillors have agreed that the authority should buy a 6.4 acre site in Easton so the new school can be built there.

County Hall had already negotiated terms with Easton and Otley College to buy the site, east of Bawburgh Road and the Conservative-controlled cabinet said on Monday that the purchase should go ahead.

The deal also includes a licence to carry out construction works.

The purchase will be funded from the council's capital programme, which covers expenditure on longer term projects and infrastructure.

Council officers say the acquisition followed a "comprehensive search for a site west of Norwich" and that the process of finding a sponsor for the new school was under way.

The Easton school would support 170 children with a range of special educational needs and would include an 18-place base for children with autism and learning difficulties.

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Greg Peck, the county council's cabinet member for commercial services and asset management, said the spending was in addition to the £120m which the council has already committed to spending on new special needs schools.

Margaret Dewsbury, county councillor for Hingham and South Norfolk district councillor for Easton, said she welcomed the new school, but raised concern about traffic issues.

She said the proposed access was down a road used by students at the college, which does not have pavements. She said: "It would be useful if access could be from the east, rather than the west.

"I am concerned about the extra traffic, but I am sure we can overcome this and I fully welcome the school."

Mr Peck said the new school would need to secure planning permission and that issues such as traffic would form part of that process.

He said: "All of the concerns will be addressed at that point, I would hope."

But he added the site was currently identified as a potential site for housing by South Norfolk Council.

He said a school was likely to generate less traffic, than if homes were built there.

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