Plans to expand school in Cranfield could be at risk if plans for 180 new homes approved

Planning application set to be decided tomorrow
Cranfield Church of England Academy (St Paul Site)/ Photo: LDRSCranfield Church of England Academy (St Paul Site)/ Photo: LDRS
Cranfield Church of England Academy (St Paul Site)/ Photo: LDRS

Plans to expand a Cranfield school could be at risk if plans for 180 new homes are approved, a councillor has said.

Tomorrow (April 3) members of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Development Management Committee will be determining the application on a site known as ‘land north of Braeburn Way’.

Around 40 Cranfield residents met up on Wednesday (March 27) to discuss how they could convince committee members not to approve the planning application.

This is the applicant’s second attempt to gain planning permission for the site, the previous application was refused on appeal.

Councillor Sue Clark (Conservative, Cranfield and Marston Moretaine) said: “It went to planning appeal in July 2021. Fantastically, the planning inspector got it, and turned it down.

“But she only turned it down on highways grounds, and if you read her planning appeal letter she goes into great length about Flitt Leys and Braeburn Way, and her experience of being there in the mornings and in the afternoon at the school drop off and pick up times.

“She considered the access to be unsuitable for a further 180 houses.”

The applicants have tried to address the access issue by buying up land off Flitt Leys Close to provide off-street parking for the road’s residents who currently park outside their homes.

The current double yellow lines would be extended to stop all on-street parking in Flitt Leys.

“And very disappointingly our highways officers at Central Beds have accepted that this would be a way of taking the cars out of Flitt Leys Close and out of the area of Braeburn Way around the school and that therefore the access would be suitable for the extra housing,” councillor Clark said.

The councillor added that the school on Braeburn Way, Cranfield Church of England Academy (St Paul Site), is part of a plan to convert the area’s schools from three-tier to two-tier.

“The school would expand enormously as part of this,” she said.

“It would go from a single-form entry lower school to a two-form entry primary school.

“There’ll be a huge increase in the number of pupils, teaching staff, and therefore traffic that will need to get to St Paul at some point in the not too distant future.

“So if this planning application was to go ahead, I don’t know how that might impact the change of age range at the school, and if it might stop that happening altogether because that planning application will come in after this one.

“If this goes ahead, and the expansion of the school goes ahead as well, then obviously that’s hugely increasing the amount of traffic that would be using the access from the High Street through Flitt Leys and would be way beyond anything that was envisaged when the close was originally built.”

Two residents, a parish councillor, as well as councillor Clark will be speaking to oppose the plans at the meeting tomorrow (9.30am at Priory House, Monks Walk, Chicksands).

Richborough Estates, the planning agent, was approached for a comment but did not reply at the time of publication.

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