Is extra school needed for district new settlement site?

A developer bidding to construct 2,750 new homes say it could result in the expansion of a secondary school, as well as construction of a new one as the site grows.

The former golf course at Flaxby Park has been put forward by developer Flaxby Park Ltd
The former golf course at Flaxby Park has been put forward by developer Flaxby Park Ltd

The former golf course at Flaxby Park has been put forward by developer Flaxby Park Ltd as a potential new settlement in Harrogate Borough Council’s Local Plan.

The developer has said talks with North Yorkshire County Council point to Boroughbridge High School potentially being expanded, whilst land identified in Harrogate Borough Council’s

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Strategic Land Assessment could see additional housing and a new secondary school built.

A spokesperson for Flaxby Park said: “Discussions with the Education Authority (NYCC) regarding the provision of secondary education for the new settlement have been held. “These have informed us that for the planned period, secondary education should be provided through the expansion of the Boroughbridge High School and an appropriate financial contribution made by the developer. There is scope for the new settlement proposed at Flaxby Park to grow in the future beyond the 2750 homes contained in the current planning application and , with it, for a new secondary school to be constructed on land that has been offered.”

NYCC has said it has previously consulted on the potential for Flaxby or Green Hammerton sites being put forward. While both King James’ and Boroughbridge High School were identified for potential expansion this would be subject to a review.

A spokesperson said: “North Yorkshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Service responded to a consultation on the Flaxby settlement in late 2017. Based on the assumption that only one of the proposed significant developments at Flaxby or Green Hammerton would proceed, we have identified a potential need for two new 420 place primary schools for which education land would need to be reserved within the proposed development.

“In addition it is expected that expansion of the existing secondary school provision at King James’s School, Knaresborough and/or Boroughbridge High School will be required. This would be subject to a later review to include consideration of the cumulative effect of all the new housing in the area. Further discussions will be held with the affected secondary schools to determine the appropriate response once the future housing allocation position becomes clearer.”

Among those objecting to the Flaxby site is Knaresborough Town Councillor, Andrew Willoughby, who says it could have a knock-on- effect for secondary school places. He said ‘there was no capacity’ in the district currently if spaces normally taken by students from outside the area, including Harrogate, were filled.

He said: "My concerns is that it is a very contained site, there isn't land for it expand on because it has the motorway and the A59 around it.

"At this size its is not big enough for a secondary school site, they usually do provide land for primary school sites but not a secondary.

"North Yorkshire might say they can accommodate these extra students but I do not think we should have students travelling from the site everyday on buses or in cars with their parents."

He added: "Because the site is not big enough to ever have its own secondary school there will be a knock-on effect. At King James' it is chock-a-block, with students from places like Tockwith or Starbeck from outside the area.

"They could take those students from Flaxby but where are these students to go? There just is no spare capacity anywhere and there are no current plans for a secondary school."