Green light given for 210 additional places at South Woodford school

Nightingale pupils dressing up for World Book Day earlier this year. Seth, Sid and Daniel, all aged

Nightingale pupils dressing up for World Book Day earlier this year. Seth, Sid and Daniel, all aged six, and William aged five. Picture: John Macdonald-Fulton - Credit: John M Fulton

Councillors have voted unanimously to create an additional 210 places at Nightingale Primary School in South Woodford.

The school’s expansion was discussed at the children’s and young persons service committee, on Thursday night, and every member voted in favour.

From September 2018 onwards 30 additional places will be added each year to the school, in Ashbourne Avenue, rated outstanding by Ofted.

The school was picked for expansion as it has used several temporary units over the past five years – to deal with extra demand – which have since been turned into a purpose built block.

“It did get passed unanimously, which was nice, because it’s completely necessary,” committee chairman Cllr Lloyd Duddridge (Lab, Roding) told the Recorder.

“Expansion is really needed.”

The council has been under pressure from South Woodford residents to provide more detail about infrastructure improvements that will supplement the Local Plan, which sets out house building in the borough until 2030.

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At a public meeting in South Woodford Library last week, council leader Cllr Jas Athwal was peppered with questions about whether schools and doctors’ surgeries would accompany the 651 new homes.

“People are worried about infrastructure,” Cllr Duddridge admitted.

“This is an example of the council achieving something which is needed and we will keep listening to residents’ concerns.”

Cllr Duddridge explained this was not linked to the Local Plan, which is still going through consultation, and there will be other future infrastructure projects.

“We have to listen to everyone,” he added.

A lot of responses in the school’s consultation expressed concern about parking and traffic.

The council documents state: “The school will actively seek to discourage parents from using the car to transport children to school.”

The expansion will be subject to normal planning approvals, and a highways assessment will be carried out.

A further consultation will be carried out and any parking or traffic recommendations would form part of planning conditions.

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