Date set for appeal over new Catholic school in Peterborough

A date has been set to hear an appeal over a new Catholic school in Peterborough.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 5:00 am

The controversial primary school earmarked for the new Hampton Water development was given the go ahead by the city council a fortnight ago, prompting an immediate challenge from three councillors.

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Councillors Terri Haynes and Nicola Day at Hampton Water

Terri Haynes and Nick Sandford (Lib Dems) and Nicola Day (Green Party) criticised the council’s four week public consultation and claimed that of the 1,911 responses received by the authority during its consultation into the new school, just seven per cent were submitted from residents who live in the area where the school would be built, and only 7.2 per in Peterborough in total.

But the council pointed out that only 441 of the respondents put where they live as it was not mandatory for them to do so, meaning it is not known where the others live.

The authority’s Children and Education Scrutiny Committee will now hear the call-in on Wednesday from 7pm at the Council Chamber in the Town Hall with committee members able to sign off on the primary school or ask cabinet member for education Cllr Lynne Ayres to have a re-think.

The new school would be the first state-funded Catholic school in England for more than 10 years should it get the go ahead.

However, campaigners have described it as “discriminatory” for being able to prioritise pupils on faith over location, while there are concerns over increased traffic coming from the A15.

The new maintained voluntary aided school run by the Diocese of East Anglia is due to open in September 2022, initially for 90 pupils before eventually reaching 630.

It would also have a 30 place nursery.

It is being 90 per cent funded by the Government - which has given its backing for the school - with the council having to pay between £1.1 million and £1.5 million.

Originally, the diocese was planning to make selection 100 per cent faith based, but this has been changed. Instead, if the school is oversubscribed 20 per cent of the pupils will be chosen based on their proximity to it rather than on religious grounds.

However, the council has acknowledged that the admissions policy will be “reviewed annually by the school governing body”.

Hampton Water is part of the Hamptons East development which, when completed, will see 3,050 new homes built.