March 30, 2023 2.00 pm This story is over 15 months old

Cleethorpes school to expand despite traffic worries

An extra 150 places

Plans to expand facilities at Cleethorpes Academy have been approved, despite strong opposition from residents concerned about traffic and safety impacts.

A petition was signed by more than 60 residents, mostly of Halton Place, Cleethorpes, in opposition.

But North East Lincolnshire Council’s planning committee heard that highways didn’t expect it to have a significant impact on traffic, and welcomed expanded facilities for children.

The council’s regeneration partner Equans are the applicants, though they have inevitably worked closely with the school on the plans.

Two extensions to existing buildings will create more workspace for kitchen catering workers, additional dining space and extra PE changing room space.

Current staff rooms are to also be transformed into a dedicated music room and new library. Lifts will also be installed to make new areas like the new library accessible.

The changes will increase the school’s pupil capacity from 900 to 1,050. Christine Scott, the council’s pupil placement officer, advised that the academy already admits above its published admission number.

The school had space already for the 150 more children, but specialised space to make it more accessible was the expansion’s aim. Michelle Crews, a resident of Halton Place, spoke against the application.

Residents of this cul-de-sac and the school were previously at loggerheads in Summer 2021. A wheelie bin blockade was formed in protest at the continued use of school’s emergency gateway at Halton Place for lower school age pupils.

“We have had to put up with fights and anti-social behaviour,” Mrs Crews said, citing pupil behaviour as well as traffic safety concerns. She claimed residents could not at times walk on the footpaths as they were taken up by gangs of pupils.

“It is an accident waiting to happen with either residents or pupils,” she warned of cars coming to pick up and drop off children.

Cllr Bob Callison also objected and issued a statement on behalf of all three Croft Baker ward councillors. Like Mrs Crews, he claimed that initial teacher patrols along Halton Place to manage pupil safety and behaviour had stopped.

But a highways officer had made two site visits at pick up and drop off times a couple of weeks ago, councillors heard. She reported four teachers on both occasions on different places along the cul-de-sac.

There were also only five cars witnessed picking up children in an hour, and three dropping off children in an hour. The suggestion of making the area a school street zone, restricting traffic at pick up and drop off times, was also felt by highways to not currently be warranted.

“We do not expect that it will create a huge surge in the number of people being dropped off at this location,” the highways officer added of the application. Cllr Ian Lindley felt the need to support expanded facilities was there, citing new housing in Waltham, Scartho and Humberston.

“There’s been a bulge of children going through the system, moving from primary to secondary, so there’s absolutely the need” for greater secondary capacity, Cllr Lindley added.

Most committee members expressed similar sentiments, though chair Cllr Nick Pettigrew said there needed to be consideration of how children got in and out of school as it is “a huge problem” for residents in certain areas.

The extension plans were approved unanimously.

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