Unanimous approval for school expansion despite traffic concerns

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey. Picture: Denise Bradley

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

A secondary school near Norwich has been given the green light to build a new block which will enable to it to take on 300 extra students.

Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey will be allowed to build a new block on its current land, adding 14 classrooms, 42 parking spaces and 60 cycle storage slots.

The application was decided at a virtual meeting of Norfolk County Council's planning committee on Friday, April 23.

At the meeting, officers discussed the 13 objections made by neighbours, with the main concern in relation to the expansion's potential impact on traffic in the area.

A 3D artist's impression of the new block at Ormiston Victory Academy on Middleton Crescent, Costess

A 3D artist's impression of the new block at Ormiston Victory Academy on Middleton Crescent, Costessey. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Resident Laura Hewitt said the road "is already busy and dangerous", and claimed she had "nearly been hit several times pulling out of my drive".

Neighbour Paul Jarvis added he felt the problems "will only increase with space for more pupils".

These concerns were shared by Costessey county councillor Tim East, who wanted the application approved but with traffic mitigation measures.

At the meeting, Ormiston Victory Academy's director of finance and operations Teresa Smith spoke of the work the school had done to increase safety on the school run.

Tim East, Liberal Democrat candidate for Old Costessey

Costessey county councillor Tim East. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

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She said: "We have a safe drop off area for parents to drive into the site, and we encourage that rather than stopping on the routes into the school.

"It's a safe area where they can drive in, turn around and go back out rather than cluster around the entrances to the school.

"We also encourage cycling to school, so when we have the increased cycle storage we'll be able to work on that in greater detail."

Norfolk County Council officer Isabel Horner said she "welcomes the proactive activities by the school to reduce the impact on traffic", and added there is "considerable pressure" on secondary school places in the area.

Committee member Mick Castle said he was "struck by the fact the scheme seems to work well and the design reflects what's there already".

Fellow councillor Danny Douglas said: "Architecturally, it's in-keeping with the current site."

Martin Storey said he was happy with the project overall, but added: "Going forward I would like to see buildings more imaginatively designed than we have here."

The eight councillors present voted unanimously to approve the project.