John welcomes plans for new £25m school

A new £25million school and a long-awaited Banwell bypass top an £80million council wish list, as Weston prepares for major growth in the coming years.

North Somerset Council is bidding to the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) for tens of millions of pounds to bolster infrastructure ahead an anticipated boom in population in the coming decades.

Locking Parklands will be home to the secondary school, which was revealed after North Somerset Council shed more light on its plans to build a near-£50million road around the often-clogged centre of Banwell.

Estimates suggest the bypass project, including the acquisition of land, would cost £46.3million and a £24.5million chunk of the funding would be spent on the creation of the school, with land already secured from an agreement with developer St Modwen.

North Somerset succeeded at the first stage of the bid process in March, and is now developing a business case – which will be submitted in either December or March – to convince the Government to grant the funding.

If the cash reaches the council’s coffers, the authority would go some way to satisfying the growing calls for improved infrastructure as the population of Weston and the surrounding villages increases.

In addition to the whopping spend on the bypass and school, £3million will be spent improving roads and cycle routes, and £6million will be invested in flood defences and utility networks like water and gas.

Around 25,000 homes will be built across North Somerset by 2036 as part of the Joint Spatial Plan, including ‘garden villages’ on the edges of Banwell and Churchill of 1,700 and 2,700 homes respectively.

And the Haywood Village and Locking Parklands developments are well underway and will total more than 3,000 homes when complete, meaning roads and services are set to come under increased strain from an expanding population.

Weston MP John Penrose has pledged his support to the bid.

He said: “Weston and nearby villages are growing fast to cope with our economic rebirth and it means building communities, not dormitories, for people to live in.

“New schools, or extra classes for existing ones, are a vital part of that, along with GPs, community halls and shops too.”

This article was originally published in The Weston Mercury.

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