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Longridge High School set for brand new building to house students as demand surges

Posted on - 5th January, 2024 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Longridge, Preston News, Ribble Valley Locations, Schools
Longridge High School
Longridge High School

Six new classrooms are to be built at a Ribble Valley secondary school after councillors gave the go-ahead to an expansion needed to cope with a huge increase in demand for places.

Lancashire County Council had already agreed to increase the number of pupils attending Longridge High School, but the authority’s development control committee has now approved the new building that will be required as a result.

Plans presented to the committee last month noted a rising secondary school population in Longridge because of what was described as “unprecedented levels of inward migration” to the town and “a high primary school population forecast to move through to secondary schools”.

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When a consultation into the expansion was carried out in November 2022, County Hall’s cabinet member for education and skills, Jayne Rear, said that “housing developments, plus an increase in the birth rate” had meant that additional places had to be created.

Longridge High will admit an extra 30 pupils into year 7 from this September, having already upped its intake by 15 at the start of the current academic year.  That combined change will gradually increase the capacity of the Preston Road facility – which became an academy in the autumn and is now operated by The Bay Learning Trust – from 825 to 1,050.

The two-storey block will be built on the school grounds, without encroaching on any of the playing pitch space on the site.  In addition to the extra classrooms, the eight-metre-high standalone extension will include toilets and offices – and will be connected to the existing buildings and the school car park via newly-created paths.

The proposal attracted two objections from members of the public, with concerns raised including the potential impact on parking in the area and claims there were at least a dozen vehicles permanently parked on Preston Road while the school is open, “causing problems for passing traffic”.

The plans had originally included an additional staff parking area for six vehicles, but that was dropped from the scheme considered by the committee.

Lancashire County Council’s highways officials had advised that one parking space per classroom would be required as part of the scheme.  The school currently has 45 classrooms, but 71 parking spaces – meaning that the minimum level is currently being exceeded and will continue to be so even after the expansion.

Part of the existing car park will be used as a construction compound during the works, but 37 bays will remain in use, while a further 34 temporary spaces will also be made available.

The meeting heard that it had been hoped to retain the temporary car park after the new building is complete, but planning officer Helen Ashworth said that the school is “seeking funding to retain the car parking extension” permanently – although she stressed that it had not yet been secured.

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