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Withdrawal of planning application for Jane Austen College free school in Norwich ‘will not affect its opening in any way’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 January 2014

Claire Heald principal of Jane Austen College outside the building on Colegate, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Claire Heald principal of Jane Austen College outside the building on Colegate, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

The planning application for Norwich’s newest secondary school has been withdrawn so concerns about narrow pavements outside can be addressed.

The Jane Austen College, a specialist humanities free school, last month announced it would open in office space on Colegate, currently used by Aviva.

The school’s backers said the withdrawal of the planning application did not affect the school’s location, and it would open as planned in September 2014.

March 2013 - Free school bid for Norwich city centre
May 2013 - New free school in Norwich given approval
June 2013 - Do you agree with the school which will not set any homework?

The school is set to house up to 1,100 pupils when fully operational, and a letter accompanying the planning application said the building currently has capacity for nearly 1,000 office workers.

It added: “We do not consider that the use of the building for a school with a similar capacity will present any significant issues with regard to the pedestrian access.”

However, Norwich City Council transport planner Kieran Yates said in a report that converting it into a school would be “a significant intensification of use of the building”, and the school hours and younger age of the people using it meant that there would be some “significant localised impacts and risks” that would all need to be mitigated.

He said the pavements on Colegate and the Colegate end of St George’s Street were narrow, and there was poor visibility for pedestrians at the Colegate entrance due to cars parked on either side.

He wrote: “For this reason a footway build out (that would also be used by vehicles entering the site) would be essential to provide adequate space for pedestrians and to improve their visibility to vehicles.

“Therefore, the highway authority recommendation is that a footway build out at the Colegate (archway) entrance is essential in all circumstances.”

Claire Heald, principal of Jane Austen College, said: “We are aware that our initial application has been withdrawn and this is simply part of the normal consultation process.

“We are working closely with planners and taking on board their comments.

“A further application will be submitted and we expect a swift and positive response. The timeline for the opening of Jane Austen College will not be affected in any way.”

What do you think? Email


  • I walked down there on Monday . Parked cars make it difficult to cross the road safely . And the pavement is narrow . We don`t need another school anyway . Just big profits for someone along the line .

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    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • In one breath we are told these pupils are young adults in the next they are not because they cannot cope with pavements currently used by adults. Changing the message to suit themselves me thinks,

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    jennifer jane

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Why would any parent send their child to an untried and untested school?...the only reason I can think of is they don't think their local school is any good, which of course can't be true.

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    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • Brilliantly put Tom......economic hard times, yet £ms found repeatedly for Gove's vanity project.....DISGRACEFUL.

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    Thursday, January 30, 2014

  • Gove's crazy ideology exposed for all to see. A ridiculous choice of building, in a ridiculous location, not serving a community of any description and meeting a need that doesn't exist but no doubt has identified a demand by giving parents the illusion that their children are somehow going to gain some kind of benefit by going to school named after a 200 year old author. Where on earth are the outdoor facilities? Where is the parking? The traffic congestion twice a day will be simply unbearable. There is absolutely no need for any more secondary provision in Norwich and yet we have a nutter in Whitehall hell bent on dangling £millions in front of a few enthusiasts instead of investing in what we have already. What an utter waste of time, money and effort.

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    Tom Jeffries

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • do need another school? nope

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    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

  • There are no 'demographic' reasons for another secondary school in Norwich. I know I am probably sounding like a stuck record on this message board, but I think the EDP should be using the FOI Act to investigate and report on how much taxpayers' money is beinghas been spent on purchasing 3 city centre sites and their refurbishment and of course their running costs. This is money that could have been spent helping 'struggling' local schools. No one knows what the knock on effect will be on other Norwich schools (less money if studentsparents choose the new Free Schools). And goodness knows what the effect on traffic in these areas will be. All of this is in the name of competition between schools to supposedly 'drive up' standards (where is the evidence for that?). If we're going to have Free Schools, they should only be allowed in areas where there is a demographic need for a new school. What is more, who are these schools accountable to? I know this post is not about pavement problems, but I would really like the EDP to find out about how much taxpayers' money is being spent on these schools and the projected knock on effects on Norwich's secondary schools, if anyone has made that calculation (I suspect not), because planning, and accountability in local education has become far more difficult with the advent of academies and free schools, which are not accountable to or controlled by the LEA.

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    Wednesday, January 29, 2014

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