Residents fear doubling size of St Martha’s in Gaywood would increase traffic

Pupils at St Martha's Primary School IAN BURT COPY:Laura Devlin FOR:EDP News EDP pics © 2006

Pupils at St Martha's Primary School IAN BURT COPY:Laura Devlin FOR:EDP News EDP pics © 2006 - Credit: IAN BURT

People living near one of Norfolk's two Catholic primary schools fear plans to double its number of pupils will lead to increased traffic around their homes.

St Martha's Roman Catholic Primary School wants to extend its buildings on Field Lane, Gaywood, so it can increase pupil numbers from 210 to 420.

But West Norfolk council's planning committee heard the area already struggles to cope with the volume of traffic.

Melton Chambers spoke on behalf of Field Road residents at the meeting in King's Lynn.

'There already is an intolerable level of traffic but there are near misses and cars go over the kerbs,' he said. 'The need for medical attention is also an issue, it took 20 minutes for an ambulance to get down the road when it should three minutes.'

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Mr Chambers said told the meeting that there have been suggestions of staggering school opening and closing times with nearby Gaywood Community Primary School.

'But parents arrive earlier at 2pm just to try and get a car-parking space,' he added. 'We would expect another 210 more vehicles if it got extended.'

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Norfolk County Council will make the final decision over the extension, which would include additional car parking, a larger kitchen and a conversion of the existing main hall.

Helen Bates, representing the school, said that there was a shortage of places. She said: 'The diocese has identified a need for more places in the area and the county council has a statutory duty to provide education to children. The diocese is hugely aware of the traffic. The car parking would increase from 12 to 52 places.'

Gaywood councillor Gary Howman said traffic would impact on the Wootton Road and Gaywood Clock areas, adding: 'The air pollution levels there are bad enough as it is.' When a vote was called, 12 objected, two abstained and one voted to approve the plans. The borough's recommendation will be taken into account by the county council, when it makes a decision at a date to be announced.

Should St Martha's be allowed to double in size? E-mail

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