Plans for new Peterborough Catholic school recommended for approval

Plans for a new Catholic school in Peterborough have been recommended for approval by city council planners.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 5:01 am

The 630 place St John Henry Newman School is due to open in Hampton Water next year.

The maintained voluntary aided school run by the Diocese of East Anglia school will be the first state-funded Catholic school in England for more than 10 years, but its admissions policy has angered local residents who fear their child will miss out on a place.

If the school is oversubscribed then 20 per cent of the pupils will be chosen based on their proximity to it, with 80 per cent selected on religious grounds, although the school has said that any local child wanting a place is expected to get one.

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An artist's impression of St John Henry Newman School
An artist's impression of St John Henry Newman School

There are also plans for a 26 place nursery off Aqua Drive.

The council’s planning committee will decide whether to approve the building of the new school next Tuesday. If approved, the building would have two teaching wings, as well as a courtyard area for hard outdoor play, soft play areas and playing fields for sports including football, cricket and athletics.

Other facilities include a: nursery playroom, studio, main and small hall, library, sensory room and food, science and design technology room.

The plans are for there to be 76 parking spaces, including six disabled and four electric vehicle charging point bays.

Secure cycle parking with 106 spaces is also due to be provided.

Access to the school would be via a one-way system through the car park where there would be eight drop-off bays and a drop-off turning area.

A report on the planning application released by the council indicates there have been more than 100 objections to the proposals, with major concerns over traffic, although Peterborough Highways Services has not raised an objection.

Neither Hampton or Yaxley parish councils have objected either, with the only local councillor to raise their opposition being Cllr Chris Wiggin, Liberal Democrat member for Hampton Vale.

Cllr Wiggin has claimed the transport assessment was flawed and that traffic will be an issue due to the school being a faith school and attracting children from outside the catchment area.

If the plans are the approved, the new school will be filled on an annual incremental basis, with up to one Reception class of 30 pupils and one mixed class for Years 1 and 2 of 30 pupils in September 2022.

Depending on demand, more classes will open from September 2023 up to the maximum of three classes per year group.

The new school is being 90 per cent funded by the Government.