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Council anger at need to expand new school so soon

Tuesday, 22nd October 2013.

Just a couple of years after it was completed at a cost of over £5million, the New Clements Primary School is going to need major extensions to cope with predicted pupil number increases.

Haverhill’s town mayor and fellow councillors were heavily critical of what they called the ‘short-sightedness’ of the initial plan, when they considered the latest proposals to extend last night.

The current roll of 210 pupils is now expected to rise to 315 over the next seven years, and the school will need a two-phase expansion, first of the reception class and then of three new classrooms and activity space, necessitating major redesign of the landscaping.

Staffing will be increased from seven full-time equivalents to 11.

This is the second expansion of the school since it opened in June 2011 at a cost of £5.1million, a portable building having already had to be added to the site.

Haverhill Town Council planning committee felt they could not object to the plan, apart from urging that access for construction vehicles should be from the roundabout and not Cleves Road which they considered dangerous.

However town mayor Cllr Roger Andre said it was ‘appalling’ that Suffolk County Council didn’t plan it properly when they built the school.

He described it as an appalling waste of tax-payers’ money, while committee chair Cllr Mary Martin described it as ‘very short-sighted’, as pupil estimates must have been available.

They asked town clerk Will Austin to establish whether the new pupil estimates took account of the population expansion envisaged in the Vision 2031 plan, which, across the town, will result in an estimated 1,100 extra pupils over the next 20 years.

Haverhill Online News

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