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New Lakenheath primary school gets green light

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A new primary school in Lakenheath that will accommodate up to 420 youngsters has been given the go-ahead – despite being beneath an RAF jet flightpath.

Suffolk County Council’s development and regulation committee gave its approval on Tuesday for the 420-place primary school and 30-place pre-school, which will be built off Station Road.

However, there were concerns that its location beneath a flightpath for the nearby RAF base, and the noise impact of this would cause problems for teaching.

The new school will accommodate 420 pupils
The new school will accommodate 420 pupils

A spokesman from Suffolk County Council said: “We are very pleased that a new primary school at Lakenheath has been granted planning permission.

“This will enable us to meet the demand for additional places arising from new housing developments in the village.”

The county council’s noise officer confirmed that aircraft sound could have a significant impact for lessons outside, but said the area was “relatively quiet for the majority of the time”.

But an independent noise assessment commissioned by Lakenheath Parish Council said it had “identified a number of concerns relating to the assessment and its conclusions, which highlight that the proposed location is not suitable for a new school.”

It added: “Construction of a school in this location will be problematic to both its staff and pupils.”

The existing school in the area is close to capacity, and does not have any space to expand further, according to the planning report.

The new school is expected to create at least 36 jobs in the primary school alone, with building work beginning on site next summer ahead of a September 2020 opening.

Phase one will deliver a 210-place primary with necessary facilities, with the ability to expand to the remaining 210 at a later date.

The pre-school will also be established as part of the first wave of work.

The school follows a series of developments set for the area that will mean 663 homes are being built.

The head of planning said that the countryside location meant plans for a school there went against the development plan, but the importance of a new school meant it acceptable.