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School site features in developer’s plans
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
proposals for a new primary school in Okehampton and further development over 62 acres will be on display in the town next week.
The plans are being put forward by the Hunt Group, which says a significant part is the offer of six acres to West Devon Borough Council to accommodate a new primary school.
The developer’s plans include a 420-pupil school on land between Monkey Puzzle Drive and Fatherford Road.
Paul Hunt, director of the Hunt Group, said: ‘Okehampton is expanding rapidly and needs to have the right infrastructure to plan sufficiently for the future.
‘We are offering to set aside this land so the primary school can be built in a suitable location which is accessible to the town’s residents.
‘We’re keen to work with local residents and the West Devon Borough Council planning committee to see how we can help meet Okehampton’s needs as a growing town.’
The proposed plans will cover 62 acres, 28 acres of which will be gifted to Okehampton College and trustees of the town by the landowner as part of any successful planning application. The land would preserve green space near the river and could be used for more sports amenities.
The plan includes 60 houses, a supermarket, park and ride facilities to reduce congestion, as well as camping and leisure facilities to boost local tourism and trade.
Discussions over the site, which is to the south of Exeter Road, started in 2009, but have stalled until now.
Hopes of a second school being built in the town in the near future looked quashed in April after West Devon Borough Council granted permission for 52 houses to be built on the site — it had previously been allocated for a second school in the town.
Borough councillors were at the time unconvinced by Devon County Council’s commitment to building a second school in the town, so decided to grant planning permission for houses on the site.
The council was also reluctant to over-rule its own housing strategy policy which related to a smaller parcel of land needed to secure the delivery of a viable school site.
Outgoing town mayor Cllr Maureen McDonald said: ‘Clearly, everyone has said that in a few years’ time we will need a second school in the town. I would be glad to see concrete plans for a second school in Okehampton, and will be interested to see the plans from the developer.’
The Hunt Group’s planning proposals will be available for public viewing at the White Hart Hotel on Wednesday May 23 between 10am and 3pm, and Thursday May 24 from noon to 5pm.
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Sir Ray Tindle
Something to sell?