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CONFIRMED: New primary school in the CEDA

CONFIRMED: New primary school in the CEDA

Image: LDRS

A new primary school will be delivered in Chard by 2028 as the town seeks to cope with hundreds more homes.

South Somerset District Council hopes to deliver two new primary schools within the Chard Eastern Development Area (CEDA) within the coming decades along with more than 2,700 new homes and 13 hectares of employment land.

Somerset County Council admitted in late-April that it had not yet secured a site for either school, arguing the town had sufficient school places until at least 2024.

Now the district council has confirmed that a site for the first new primary school has been identified, with the second school being delivered after 2028.

The CEDA consists of a number of parcels of land between the A358 Tatworth Road and the A30 Crewkerne Road, with the new homes being delivered in stages along with a new relief road to take traffic away from the town centre.

By 2028, the CEDA is expected to deliver at least 1,220 new homes, up to 13 hectares of employment land, a new primary school, “neighbourhood centres” with local facilities at Holbear and Millfields, new and improved highway infrastructure, and new sports facilities and public open spaces (including new football or rugby pitches).

A further 1,496 homes are expected to be delivered after 2028, as well as a second new primary school and two further neighbourhood centres at Avishayes and Stop Line Slopes.

To date, the following CEDA sites have either been delivered or have planning permission in place:

  • 200 homes on the A358 Tatworth Road, with a financial contribution towards the relief road – currently being constructed by Tilia Homes
  • 94 homes to the south of the Tilia Homes site (a.k.a. Snowdon Grange) – to be delivered by Summerfield Developments
  • 78 homes on Oakland Avenue, including a stretch of the relief road north of the A30 – delivered in Morrish Homes
  • The new Numatic research facility south of the A30, which will deliver “potentially about a third” of the employment land allocated within the CEDA

Plans for a further 252 homes on Tatworth Road, put forward by Persimmon Homes South West, remain under consideration five years after they were first submitted.

John Hammond, the council’s principal planner and service delivery specialist, said the struggle to maintain a five-year land supply had resulted in applications being approved out of sequence or on other sites outside the CEDA – including plans for 295 homes and new football stadium for Chard Town FC at the town’s northern edge.

He told the council’s area west committee on Wednesday evening (July 21): “Each site has got its own promoters and timetables, and for a period of time we’ve had a lack of housing supply – which meant we’ve had to determine and support applications that might not necessarily fit with the sequencing plan.”

Mr Hammond said the county council “has a preferred location” for the first of the two new primaries schools – but declined to specify exactly where in the CEDA this would be delivered.

He said: “We have discussed with them three or four sites which could all deliver in the south of the town – but obviously at the moment we can’t discuss what sites they might have been.

“They are looking at a two-form entry school [14 classrooms] which would meet the bulk of their need. A site could be unlocked relatively quickly.”

Chard currently has three primary schools – Avishayes Community Primary School on Fairview Rise, Manor Court Community Primary School on Duck Lane, and Redstart Primary School on Redstart Road.

These three schools feed into the Holyrood Academy secondary school on Zembard Lane, which is currently in the process of being expanded.

Mr Hammond also indicated that other aspects of the CEDA – including health services and the relief road – was being reviewed in an effort to speed up the delivery of new facilities.

A report on the relief road – including the stretch north of the A30 near Chard Reservoir – is expected by late-September.

Regarding health, Mr Hammond added: “Chard and Crewkerne are both areas where we are looking at how to identify sites to allow the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to expand where they had historically not engaged with the Local Plan to set out their infrastructure requirements.

“It’s then for the CCG to deliver the business case and the funding to deliver new facilities. We are working through a system which is slightly imperfect.”


Words: Daniel Mumby, Local Democracy Reporter

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