Council admits urgent need for school places as more houses built in Leyland

The new Sycamore Gardens development in Leyland, off Golden Hill Lane
The new Sycamore Gardens development in Leyland, off Golden Hill Lane
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There will not be enough primary school places in Leyland next year, as an influx in new houses means the council can’t meet demands.

Lancashire County Council has confirmed that it desperately needs to find more school places in the town by September 2015.

With more than 2,700 houses set to be built in Leyland alone under South Ribble Council’s Local Development Framework, residents have frequently expressed concerns about how the population overload will impact on the town’s education and health facilities.

The county council is now working with Leyland’s 13 primary schools to see where 60 new places can be created.

However they say this is just a ‘one-year’ issue because of birth rates, and expect no further problems in 2016.

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Our officers are currently looking into providing some extra primary school places in Leyland, on a temporary basis in response to a one-year increase in the birth rate.

“We are aware there are plans to build new houses in South Ribble and we will continue to keep an eye on where things are up to in terms of building and occupancy.

“As always, though, we have to perform a balancing act to ensure that we provide enough places for new children in the right place at the right time, without destabilising numbers at existing schools.”

South Ribble Council insists that the growth in the area is being ‘managed’.

The borough council’s cabinet member with responsibility for strategic planning and housing, Coun Cliff Hughes, said: “We’ve been working with our partners from across Central Lancashire for five years to ensure that the area’s growth is managed in a co-ordinated way.

“In South Ribble we are committed to maintaining our borough’s rural nature, while identifying all necessary infrastructure before any development can take place.

“This will ensure that any new homes, employment sites and community facilities fit the bigger picture.

“For example, we’re working with the NHS on health care for our expanding population, and Lancashire County Council over the provision of school places.

“Such issues also form part of the discussions we are currently having around the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City