Fenland could need new secondary school and seven primary schools in next 20 years

A NEW secondary school and seven primary schools could be needed in Fenland in the next 20 years.

The forecast was offered this week by Cambridgeshire County Council as part of its response to plans by Fenland District Council to allow between 11,000 and 16,000 homes to be built over the same period.

Fenland has outlined its future plans in a new core strategy now out for consultation and the county council has begun its response to those proposals.

The county says on the minimum growth forecast Wisbech will need two extra primary schools, March and Chatteris one each.

If the maximum target is met then Wisbech will need three extra primary schools, March three and Chatteris one. Whittlesey could cope by expanding existing schools.

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However, the county believes a new secondary school – occupying a site of some 20 acres - would additionally be needed in Wisbech under both the minimum and maximum growth forecasts.

A report agreed by Fenland’s Cabinet said: “The greatest pupil pressures from housing growth, but also from the existing larger primary school cohorts ageing through, are in the Wisbech/March area.

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“Housing growth in March will mean that Neale-Wade School will fill from within its own catchment area. This will restrict the current pattern of parental preference under which a number of parents in Wisbech choose to send their children to Neale-Wade.

“This trend, coupled with higher rates of house building in Wisbech (above those in March) suggests that new secondary school provision should be made in Wisbech to ensure that the county council can meet the overall demand for secondary school places arising from growth throughout Fenland.”

The county council says that even without further housing growth “there is already pressure on capacity in Wisbech and March that has and will require the expansion of existing schools and the provision of new schools.

“There is no existing spare capacity.”

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