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Decision due today on school's £4m expansion which would double its size

PUBLISHED: 08:39 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 11 October 2019

Artist's impressions of the new Hethersett Junior School building. Picture: NPS Group

Artist's impressions of the new Hethersett Junior School building. Picture: NPS Group

NPS Group

A £4m expansion of a school, which would see it almost double in size, could get the go-ahead this week, after late changes to the scheme.

David Bills, Conservative county councillor for Humbleyard. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.David Bills, Conservative county councillor for Humbleyard. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

The plans for Hethersett Junior School had been due to be decided by Norfolk County Council's planning committee last month, but it was deferred.

Councillors voted to put off a decision after hearing from neighbours who had concerns that the expansion of the school, off Queens Road, would overshadow their gardens.

County councillor David Bills, who represents the Humbleyard division, had said people living in nearby Haconsfield had experienced difficulties getting information on the scheme.

The committee requested that the scheme be reconsidered. They asked that the design of the roof be looked at again, to help reduce the amount of shadowing in the gardens of neighbours.

Revised plans have since been drawn up by the council's own children's services department and members of the authority's planning committee will make a decision today.

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The expansion would see the school become an all-through, 420-place primary school - doubling the current capacity of 240 pupils.

For that to happen, two new classrooms would be needed for each year group from reception year up to year six.

The plans would see a standalone classroom block built to accommodate the eight new classrooms needed, while the existing school building would be remodelled.

That would provide classrooms for years four to six and would include the conversions of two undersized classrooms to a library and group space.

The changes are needed because Hethersett is due to see increasing growth in the coming years, with 1,200 new homes approved to be built in the village.

At last month's meeting head teacher Matthew Parslow-Williams had told councillors there was significant pressure along the A11 corridor for pupil places, with the school already oversubscribed.

Officers are recommending that councillors agree to authorise Tom McCabe, director of community and environmental services, to grant planning permission.

If the expansion does get the go-ahead, then the school would aim to have it completed next year.

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