GROUNDBREAKING plans for a new school in Hucknall have been given the go-ahead by Nottinghamshire county councillors.
The 420-place primary school will be built in two phases on land off Kenbrook Road, which is part of the new housing development in the Papplewick Lane area.
The building will replace the historic Beardall Street Primary School, which has catered for several generations of Hucknall children.
The original proposal was for the new school to cater for 210 pupils but the number has now been increased to 420.
The aim is for the school to open by September 2014 with 315 pupils and three extra classrooms are to be added for 105 more youngsters by September 2016.
The scheme, which also includes a 26-place nursery unit, will cost just over £3 million and some of the bill is to be footed by a local housing developer.
Head teacher at Beardall Street School, Katherine Collins, said: “This is an exciting time for the children here.They will be moving to a new school with better facilities and, importantly, more outdoor play space.
“Beardall Street School has a very proud history in Hucknall and it is a beautiful building from a heritage point of view. But, sadly, it is not equipped for modern needs. I think our children will benefit most from attending the new school.
“We are all looking forward to the prospect of transferring to the new building.”
It was a felt a new school was needed, mainly because of 800 new homes being built at Grange Farm and the former Wigwam Lane playing fields.
It will also ease the pressure on the neighbouring Leen Mills Primary School.
At a meeting of the council’s planning and licensing committee, some members stressed a need for a travel plan at the new school to take effect as soon as possible.
Coun Mrs Sue Saddington said: “This is going to be a big school and there could be mayhem if parents converge on it in their cars at dropping-off and collection times.”
This point was emphasised to the county council’s children, families and cultural services committee, which has put in the application.
Ashfield District Council objected on design grounds, pointing out the new school would replace an attractive building which had played a key part in Hucknall’s history.
Council leader Coun Chris Baron (Lab), of Hucknall, described the design as ‘bland and innocuous’ and said a landmark building should be provided, incorporating such features as a green roof.
But a report to the committee stated that an independent panel of architects had praised the school’s proposed three-zone layout.
Hucknall Sports Football Club will be relocated on nearby land as part of an agreement attached to the original housing development and there will be no loss of playing fields space, the committee was told.