Leading School Rejects 400 Houses


A LEADING Derbyshire school has said it cannot admit pupils from a controversial housing development on the outskirts of Derby.

The governors at Ecclesbourne School are consulting on plans to exclude land off Kedleston Road from its current catchment area.

The proposed development of 400 homes on open fields has resulted in a huge outcry from local people and thousands of signatures have been collected on a petition opposing Catesby Estates' project.

The Duffield school, which is regularly over-subscribed, has said it cannot take any additional pupils.

But this could leave a huge headache for school place planners in Derby, who may be urged to find space for additional pupils as the housing developments sits on the city boundary, despite would-be pupils being under the jurisdiction of Derbyshire County Council – and any planning decisions to be made by Amber Valley Borough Council.

James McNamara, Ecclesbourne School head teacher, said: "We have been above capacity for many years and demand for places is rising.

"The school has responded by expanding its planned annual admission number to 240 pupils to accommodate the large new housing development already being built at Radbourne Lane near Mackworth.

"Our governors have taken the decision to amend admissions arrangements for September 2016 in response to further and unsustainable demand for places at Ecclesbourne."

He said the area of land where the Kedleston Road scheme is being proposed is to be "excluded from our normal area".

Mr McNamara said: "This change is necessary in order to ensure that we are able to meet existing demand and continue to provide the high quality of education that our community expects.

"If the school was not to respond in this way then areas which have traditionally been included in our catchment might find their places in jeopardy."

Opposition group Kedleston Voice believes building on the land would cause flooding and traffic problems and that it would be more useful as farmland.

Isobel Shorrock, of nearby Quarndon, said: "I think this is a significant move by the school and emphasises the concerns we already had about schools."

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