Council bid for cash towards Chatteris pre-school extension

A �52,000 contribution towards pre-school facilities in Chatteris is being sought from the developers of a controversial site in the town.

Cambridgeshire County Council previously stunned local councillors by saying it would not be seeking education money through Section 106 contributions because there was already adequate provision.

Roddons Housing Association want to build 67 homes on the former playing field of the Kingsfield Primary School attracting opposition from nearby residents.

Now the plan is being recommended for approval when it comes before Fenland District Council’s planning committee next Wednesday subject to a raft of conditions including the Section 106 contribution.

When the planning application came before the council in August, Councillors Jan French and Florence Newell said they were appalled that the Section 106 money was not being asked for and accused officers of providing out of date statistics. The application was deferred.

A new report maintains there are sufficient school places available to cope with extra numbers from the development but Kingsfield Pre-School does not have the capacity to meet the additional demand.

As the county council has a statutory requirement to provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to all three and four-year-olds it now considers a pre-school contribution is justified in respect of the scheme.

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The pre-school already has plans to expand capacity by 26 places in 2011 with a �122,000 extension.

The report says: “Kingsfield Pre-School is a charitable body overseen by a sub-committee of Kingsfield School’s governing body. The pre-school has been at capacity for several years and birth rates in the area suggest it will be at capacity for at least the next three years. Therefore additional places are required in order to serve the expected demand from new developments such as the one at Kingsfield.

“As this development is expected to accommodate children that will require pre-school facilities, and as the pre-school facilities are at capacity, it is considered reasonable that the development should make a contribution to expand these facilities.”

The county council is contributing �20,000 from the Sure Start New Places grant towards the extension and funding of �50,000 has been agreed in principle from Fens Adventurer funding. The �52,000 Agreement 106 money would also go towards the project.

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