Local plan: More land needed for Harrogate schools if additional sites get go-ahead

Several schools across the district will be unable to provide additional classroom places due to the lack of land
Several schools across the district will be unable to provide additional classroom places due to the lack of land

As additional housing developments are proposed across the district council documents show several schools will need more land to help meet the future demand for school places.

Ongoing discussions between Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) over education provision and work developing the Local Plan has established that new schools, or improvements to existing ones, will be needed where new settlements or large sections of housing are proposed.

However in areas like Boroughbridge, Pannal, Killinghall and North Stainley this will not be possible as schools cannot expand any further due to a lack of space.

HBC Cabinet member for planning, Coun Rebecca Burnett, said the need to secure sites and increase school places in certain areas has been recognised, with locations identified for the additional consultation period of the Local Plan.

Coun Burnett said: "This is us making sure schools have the space to accommodate new people. It is not something that is required we do but it is something we want to do, you often rely on the developer to make sure there is space for this.

"By doing this we are making sure sites closest to the school have the space and it will make sure school places are safeguarded.

She added: "Other schools may need to grow as well, but these are the ones that have said they have not got enough space currently.

"Pannal and Killinghall for example just do not have the space, but as more sites are allocated we will make sure that they grow."

Land which is earmarked for schools would see extensions paid for by developers, who offer cash to cover the additional cost that is put on infrastructure by the increasing population, as part of their application. The funds are then used by NYCC as the local education authority to carry out the construction.

Boroughbridge High School could see land provided that is immediately adjacent to the east of the school, and next to a potential housing development of 178 homes on land at Aldborough Gate. At the southern edge of a proposed 277 residential development off Leeds Road Pannal Primary School could also expand.

Killinghall Church of England Primary School would be allocated land on the opposite side of Crag Lane for additional facilities, while North Stainley could see an entirely new school established on agricultural land at the south-eastern edge of the village.

North Yorkshire County Council has however stated the allocation of land to grow schools in the area is dependent on the course of the Local Plan, along with issues such as funding or demand for future housing developments.

A County Council spokesman said: “These allocations have been made in anticipation of proposed future housing growth in the Local Plan. The development of these sites will be dependent on a number of factors, including funding and site availability, and the pace and extent of demand from future housing developments."

Some of the schools highlighted in the local plan have secured additional space through extensions on their current sites. Killinghall Church of England Primary School recently received funding from NYCC for construction of two new classrooms, which are due to be completed by the school's September intake.

The school currently has places for 106 children but is expected to grow to between 112 and 115 by September based on the current admission rate at the school.

Looking to the future the school's headteacher, Sarah Bassitt, raised concerns that while current numbers could be met with the addition of the class rooms the numbers of homes expected through the local plan could cause difficulty.

Mrs Bassitt said: "We are very fortunate that we have this expansion of two classrooms at the school, however we are concerned at the potential knock-on effect that could occur over the years if several of the developments are approved."