PLANS to significantly increase a primary school’s capacity - despite traffic concerns and the subsequent relocation of a family centre - took a step closer to reality after approval was given by cabinet members last week.
Cudworth’s Birkwood Primary School, on Darfield Road, currently has about 340 children on its roll but will be extended to create an additional 140 places.
The extension is needed at the outstanding-rated school to meet the projected demand for places following updated birth data from the Office for National Statistics and local housing developments, such as Barratt Homes’ recent build on Carrs Lane.
Cudworth is set to have 872 homes built up to 2033 as part of the council’s ‘local plan’ blueprint - which equates to a 17 per cent increase in properties for the area.
The other two primary schools in the area, Cherry Dale and Churchfield Primary, have already undergone expansion works in recent years.
Cudworth Family Centre, which is currently housed on the Birkwood school site, will be relocated to the Cudworth I Know I Can (IKIC) building on Snydale Road.
A public consultation was held on the plans to move the family centre, to which there was only one objection, equating to less than two per cent of those who completed the consultation.
Almost 100 per cent of respondents stated that the new site would be more accessible.
The costs of the expansion and move will be covered through a ‘basic need’ capital allocation from central government.
Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson for environment and transportation, said: “I welcome the proposal but from a highways perspective, I’m aware that traffic and parking have been an issue outside Birkwood.
“We can only expect that we will see more traffic after this expansion.
“Therefore I would say the highways network manager should be consulted.”
Coun Sharon Howard added: “This is a solution to the issue of school places.
“This is a problem for every school with traffic, personally, I think there is a job here for schools.
“Perhaps schools need to look at their arrangements for getting kids in to schools quicker and if this can be done it could alleviate some of the traffic issues.”
Nina Sleight, the service director for education, early start and prevention at the council, said they are ‘looking closely’ at the contributing factors affecting school places.
“We are looking closely at housing developments and we have a ten-year trajectory looking at birth rates and other factors.
“We schedule these factors in and respond when required, to make sure we’re in a good position to respond to school place needs.”