Taylor Wimpey planning consultants DPDS have advised Shaw Residents’ Association that building the primary school at Ridgeway Farm, north of West Swindon, will not now start until 2015, with completion by mid-summer 2016.
Wiltshire agreed outline planning permission in 2012 and detailed planning permission last year for the first 218 houses and construction of the access road into the development. Work started in mid-January.
Planning permission has also been given by Wiltshire Council for a single form 210 place school located centrally within the 700 home Ridgeway Farm development, as shown above. Below, an impression of the front entrance, and a layout of the classrooms promoted by Taylor Wimpey
The school in the original plans for the development was supposed to open in September 2014 until it was delayed until September 2015, but a statement from DPDS to Shaw Residents’ associaton says:
‘I can confirm that a Deed of Variation (in respect of the Section 106 Agreement) is being entered into at the request of Wiltshire Council to delay the completion of the school until 2016.
‘As such work will start on the school in autumn 2015 for handover in May or June 2016.’
Kevin Fisher, chair of Shaw Residents’ Association,said: "Based on the house build rate, as advised from DPDS, I understand about 200 homes will have been completed by the time the school opens. Using government numbers (0.23 primary school age children per home) to predict the number of primary school age children living in these 200 new homes, I estimate there will be about 46 children who will need to attend a school before the Ridgeway Farm primary school is ready for use."
Wiltshire Council councillor for Purton Jacqui Lay said she was unaware that the completion date had moved again. "I would expect there will be a number of reasons for this; my understanding from the planning permission that the school was to be ready for September 2015. If a school is not delivered when houses have already been occupied, the need of families living at Ridgeway Farm will put pressure on schools closeby, either those in Swindon or the primary school at Purton which covers the area."
Peatmoor Primary School headteacher Andrew Denstridge said his school – the closest to Ridgeway Farm – had already taken quite a number of children from the Mouldon View development, which is closeby though in Wiltshire. "Although we are now an academy, we use the admissions criteria administered by Swindon Borough Council, one factor being the distance of a house from the school.
"We do have a few spaces available but we are quite full in Key Stage 1. Whilst we do have spaces in other year groups and we want to fill the spaces we do have, we’ll have to look closely at the implications of this delay on what we can offer families moving to Ridgeway Farm."
Shaw councillor Nick Martin said: "This delay is unhelpful as families moving to Ridgeway Farm will be looking to Swindon school for places. I sincerely hope families in the Shaw ward which covers Peatmoor and Sparcells get preference for places at Peatmoor Primary, and very much hope Wiltshire hold the developers to this revised timescale."