Grantham academy developers told to look at access route again

Headteacher of The Priory Ruskin Academy Clive Shepherd.
Headteacher of The Priory Ruskin Academy Clive Shepherd.

PLANNING permission for the new Priory Ruskin Academy, which was due to be built in Rushcliffe Road, Grantham, by September 2013 was deferred for a fourth time by Lincolnshire County Council this week.

The plan is to build a £13.5m academy so that the school, which is currently on the former Central Technology and Sports College site and the Grantham Church High School site can fully merge.

However, residents in Rushcliffe Road and the surrounding area, who say they are not against the academy being built, have raised concerns about the amount of disruption they may face.

Councillor Ray Wootten spoke on behalf of the residents at the meeting. He said: “I have represented residents at a number of planning applications where there have been contentious issues, but I can say that this application has proved more controversial than any other that I have dealt with.

“This application is important for the future education of children in Grantham and there is enormous pressure to grant permission; however I believe that the consultation in this application is flawed.”

The planning decision was postponed previously to allow the developers to look into using Running Furrows for construction traffic. But it was concluded that the owners could not be found. However, Coun Wootten said he found out who the owners were very quickly - one of them was Lincolnshire County Council.

He said: “It is clear to me and residents that the applicants had no intention of investigating an alternative construction route.

“It went in one ear and out of the other. Rushcliffe Road was always the preferred route. The consultation was just a tick the box exercise.”

Headteacher Clive Shepherd was disappointed that the permission was deferred again on Tuesday. He said: “We are extremely frustrated by this fourth deferral. We are desperately hoping on June 18 that this planning permission will be granted for the sake of the students, staff, the community and the future of part of the education in Grantham.”

Mr Shepherd said they are hoping the delay to the build overall will not be too much. But he is expecting the first block, which was due to be completed in September, to be pushed back.

Officers recommended the plans for approval but the decision was deferred to allow the developers to further explore another access route. The application will go back before the county council’s development control committee on June 18.