Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford Free School approved by Ofsted

A proposed Bedfordshire free school has been deemed "ready to open" by Ofsted, but has still not been granted planning permission.

Bedford Free School is due to open in September and has passed all the required pre-opening checks.

However, in June, Bedford Borough Council voted against changing the use of the building, over traffic concerns.

Principal Mark Lehain said he was "very confident" a new planning application would be signed off this month.

He said: "We are delighted to have the approval of Ofsted for our new school, which is the first of its kind in Bedford.

"We have worked very, very closely with officials [at the council] and I think that any concerns that they may have had previously are totally gone now."

Nearly 200 pupils aged 11 to 13 are due to start at the school, housed in a former Bedford College building in Cauldwell Street, on 6 September.

Councillors decided that letting it open opposite the town's college would cause too much disruption.

A new planning application goes before the council on 20 August with proposals including having a traffic warden patrol in front of the school.

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