Plan for new Soham primary school deferred

Plans to build a new primary school in Soham have been deferred – over fears families may not be able to access it safely.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s development control committee was recommended to approve the major scheme when it met today (July 25).

But members voted to defer making any decision until concerns over access arrangements to the proposed new school are addressed.

Education chiefs at the county council want to build the new school in the north of the town on land at the junction of The Shade and Kingfisher Drive.

The school would increase Soham’s primary schools to three and would provide places for the town’s ever-growing number of primary school children.

The plan is to build the school in two phases – each phase providing a total of 210 places for pupils aged 4-11.

There would also be a two-room pre-school facility for children aged 2-4.

But it the proposed access to the school – via a new road being built from the A142 roundabout – which is causing residents and councillors the most concern, especially with a new supermarket set to be built at The Shade.

Pedestrian access would be from The Shade and Kingfisher Drive.

In the report put before the committee, East Cambridgeshire District Council said it has “considerable concerns about the access to the site for primary age children”.

The council added: “It is noted that the submitted highway improvement drawings relate only to the proposed school.

“However, East Cambridgeshire District Council is in receipt of an application for a supermarket on the opposite side of The Shade to the proposed school.

“The supermarket application proposes a very large roundabout on The Shade, with a spur serving Kingfisher Drive and one to the supermarket.

“It is also likely that if approved, the roundabout would serve future industrial development on land behind The Shade.

“This has the potential to adversely impact on pedestrian and cycle travel to the school site because the proposed roundabout is very close to the school site.”

Soham Town Council and highways also expressed concern with the town council saying its members were “very concerned about the car parking, access and the whole of the traffic management of The Shade.”

The plans were deferred for further discussions regarding the proposed access to the school to be discussed.

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