'Too many pupils' - Residents hit out at school expansion

Artist impression of new building at Sprowston Community Academy.

Artist impression of new building at Sprowston Community Academy. - Credit: NPS Group/Norfolk County Council

Residents have hit out at a plan to build facilities for an extra 250 pupils at an edge of Norwich high school. 

An online consultation has been launched by Norfolk County Council, proposing to increase the number of pupils at schools in Sprowston. 

This includes Sprowston Community Academy, where the council has permission for an additional building on the site.

Boudica Schools Trust (BST), which runs the school, wants to increase numbers from 1,400 secondary places to 1,650 secondary places from autumn 2022.

A number of residents have expressed concern over the impact of increasing pupils however. 

In response to the consultation, Abbie Simpson said: "I think it will be too many pupils. Traffic is bad enough. We need a new school as all buildings are being built in Rackheath."

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Jane Muskett said: "The usual building of homes with no infrastructure to match."

Sprowston will see 1,834 new homes over the next few years

Resident Ray Green questioned whether there would be additional parking spaces at Sprowston Community Academy to deal with the demand. County councillor John Ward said it was not expected there would be.

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Town councillor Bill Couzens described it as a "touchy subject" with regard to loss of playing field space. 

Bill Couzens, deputy chair of Sprowston Town Council. Picture: Bill Couzens

Bill Couzens, deputy chair of Sprowston Town Council. Picture: Bill Couzens - Credit: Bill Couzens

But he added: "I would rather children were educated locally and build extra classrooms in schools. 

"What is the alternative? Build a new high school and have to wait? There was enough places identified in primary schools in the northern fringe but 10 years on we are no closer to building a high school."

John Ward, county councillor and mayor for Sprowston, said the change was needed and that there would be a multi-games area at the Cannerby Lane site. 

He said: "The county council is good at keeping to timescale so it will be on schedule. It's mainly in response to the development in the area." 

The consultation document states the site "can comfortably accommodate additional pupils over and above the current maximum number".

Sprowston Town Council recently discussed the loss of playing field space at the school, but Mr Ward said this would only be a small area that would be reduced.

The consultation period will run until June 25.

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