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Plans for new 420-place primary school in Thurston given go-ahead by Suffolk County Council

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Proposals to double the size of Thurston Primary Academy with a brand new site have been given the go-ahead – with the facility being eyed for a September 2021 opening.

Plans to build a 420-place school on land north of Norton Road were unanimously approved by Suffolk County Council’s development and regulation committee on Wednesday morning, paving the way for work to begin.

The current school in School Lane is at its 210-pupil capacity with no space for expansion.

Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House (31397330)
Mid Suffolk District Council, Endeavour House (31397330)

According to the council, that site is in need of repairs, and cannot accommodate the additional pupils expected from more than 800 homes which have planning permission already approved in the village.

The new school will be able to take 420 pupils and have space for future expansion.

Philip Mackay, chief executive of the Thedwastre Education Trust which runs the school, said the school was founded in 1869 and the new development represented the “next step in its journey”.

He added: “The current site is no longer fit for purpose – it’s full to capacity with no room for further development.

“The new school site has its own facilities, is self-contained and is much more fit for purpose.”

According to Mr Mackay, the process of accepting more pupils would be phased over five to seven years, and hoped the new playing fields and sports hall could be used by the community in the evenings.

The plans also include space for a new 30-place pre-school.

While the proposals were backed unanimously by the council’s committee, there were fears raised over the lack of solar panel provision, and questions over whether there was enough car parking.

The new school will have a 73-space car park and 10 drop-off visitor spaces at the front.

There were no objections from highways on the proposed parking and drop-off, while council officers said there was a high cost constraint of installing solar panels which meant other features were better for the site.

The application received two objections from the public but none from the statutory consultees.

It is understood requests may be made once the school has been built to adopt a 20mph speed limit outside the school.