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Lincolnshire County Council says third primary school in Holbeach is not needed in ‘immediate future’

Education bosses say there are no immediate plans to build a promised additional primary school in a growing town - despite local fears about a ‘nightmare’ situation ahead.

Holbeach has been promised a third primary school as part of a 900 home development - but Lincolnshire County Council says that it is ‘unlikely to be needed in the near future’.

Coun Paul Barnes has warned of a ‘downward spiral in the standard of education’ due to growing class sizes in the Holbeach and Fleet due to the influx of new homes.

Coun Paul Barnes
Coun Paul Barnes

He warned of a ‘nightmare’ in the Holbeach and surrounding area without an additional primary school during discussions of the latest phase of the Holbeach Meadows development at last week’s South Holland District Council’s planning committee.

Coun Barnes, who represents Fleet, told this website after the meeting: “I spoke out because I get frustrated that the infrastructure attached to these new developments always seem to come after the event.

“Surely Lincolnshire County Council can manage to recognise that if another 250 houses are to be built, and potentially another two phases to come, then it is obvious that more school places will be needed.

The entrance to Holbeach Meadows, in Hall Gate
The entrance to Holbeach Meadows, in Hall Gate

“We have just had a development of circa 80 houses built in Fleet, most of which are now occupied and there are more children in the area, so where do they go to school?

“I guess we have to increase class sizes, increase pressure on teachers etc and enter a downward spiral in the standard of education that the children may receive.

“So how about building the schools, doctors, open spaces first and then the houses?

“I think all schools are under pressure - with lack of classrooms, teachers and resources. Looking at the number of cars bringing children to Fleet School it is obviously very well attended but at some point will be at bursting point.

“Let’s invest in our future and get schools built to meet future demand.”

Outline planning permission for the 900 home Holbeach Meadows development was granted to Ashwood Homes in 2016 and was set to include feature a new primary school, community hub and public open spaces. The developer had agreed last year to a compromise deal which saw reduced affordable housing units and contributions to Peppermint roundabout construction.

Matthew Clayton, interim head of capital reform and education sufficiency, said: “The council continually reviews the number of available school places against projections of future demand. This ensures that new spaces are created ahead of any increase in pupil numbers.

“Holbeach William Stukeley Primary School is currently being expanded to take extra pupils, and there are options for increasing capacity at existing local schools should this be required. Based on current projections, a new school is unlikely to be needed in the near future, but the situation will continue to be monitored.”

Do we need more primary schools in our growing towns? Where is the need most acute? Post a comment below..

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