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New schools in Felixstowe and Ipswich plus works at Martlesham Primary Academy and Dale Hall Primary School among £9m education plans

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A new primary school in Felixstowe is among £9million of education plans in and around Ipswich that have been unveiled in budget documents at Suffolk County Council.

The authority’s budget for 2022/23 has seen four school schemes added to the capital budget starting between April 2022 and 2025.

The headline project is a £3.7m plan for a new primary school in north Felixstowe to cater for the housing growth in the area.

Suffolk County Council's budget for 2022/23 has seen four school schemes added to the capital budget. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS
Suffolk County Council's budget for 2022/23 has seen four school schemes added to the capital budget. Picture: Jason Noble LDRS

In addition, £3.7m has been named for the first of three new primary schools for the Ipswich Garden Suburb development, £800,000 for the expansion of Martlesham Primary Academy and £700,000 for the rebuild of the condemned sports dome at Dale Hall Primary School.

On the Felixstowe plans, a Suffolk County Council spokesperson said: “Planned housing developments in the north of the town will initially require a new 210-place primary school and 30-place pre-school to meet the additional demand arising from the housing for school and early years places.

“The new school and pre-school will have the ability to expand as further housing continues to come forward for development.

“Delivery for the new settings will be dependent on how quickly or slowly the development is built out and we continually liaise with the planning authority and the developers on this to ensure places are available when needed.

“High level site suitability studies have already been undertaken at this stage.”

The council report said it would include 50% funding from housing developer contributions and 50% from borrowing.

The council said the Henley Gate primary school – the first of the Ipswich Garden Suburb schools – will be for 210 places with a 30-place pre-school, but is ‘not expected to be developed before 2025’.

That school will also have the ability to expand in future, with early design work currently under way with developers and Ipswich Borough Council. Housing developer contributions will be used to fund the school.

From 2026, a second Garden Suburb primary school (Fonnereau) – also for 210 places and 30-place pre-school – will be developed, with the same early design work under way. It has not yet been listed in the capital budget plans.

The Martlesham Primary Academy project has been earmarked for expansion from 140 places to 210 pupils, depending on future growth in the area. A feasibility study is currently taking place, with the scheme to be funded by housing developer contributions.

In 2020 the Dale Hall sports dome, which was built in 1967, was selected as an addition to Ipswich Borough Council’s Local List but deterioration has left it unusable.

The county council’s draft capital budget proposes to borrow £700,000 to fund a rebuild.

The school schemes are part of £93.4m of new schemes added to the draft capital budget, although most of those have already been publicly announced.

The lion’s share of that – £51.6m – is for the A12 east of Ipswich improvement, as well as the previously announced £12.8m for climate emergency investment, £10m for road drainage and £10m for pavement upgrades.