School Building Plan Announced

Houses are not enough

A shortage of affordable housing is only the start of the issues that confront the population of Somerset in general and an increasingly cash strapped Somerset County Council in particular. Even as more housing is built, the vexed question of the services needed to support communities after they have been expanded follows on.

So this morning SCC have unveiled  a £140m investment plan to either build upgrade or replace  24 schools around the county over the next seven to ten years.

Timing here is everything. One of the new schools urgently needed is in Somerton where the over development of the town and the joining together of the infants and junior schools two years ago mean there is already a  demand for places from the growing numbers of children and young people.

And perhaps not surprisingly, beyond the commitment to the first project of the scheme there is no detail on the timings and priorities for the other schools where development is proposed.

If approved, the first phase of the building programme will see:

·           Of the proposed new schools, 14 will be on new sites

·           First scheme will be the £9m second site for Selworthy School in Taunton

·           An additional 2,300 secondary places by 2023

·           An anticipated 19 projects to expand primary and specialist schools

The programme includes developments in the follow locations: Taunton (seven), Bridgwater (four), Yeovil (three) Burnham-on-Sea/Highbridge (one),  Wells (one), Shepton Mallet (one), Frome (one), Street (one), Somerton (one), Castle Cary (one), Ilminster (one), Crewkerne (one), and Chard (one).

The first of the new schools to be built will be the £9m expansion of Selworthy school on the site of the former St Augustine’s School in Taunton, which will provide high quality education for more than 120 vulnerable children.

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