Beds, Herts & Bucks

Bedford Free School refused planning permission again

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Media captionGovernor Nigel Syson said they would appeal and the school would "be opening in September as planned"

A new free school in Bedfordshire will open next month despite planning permission being denied for a second time, say governors.

Bedford Borough Council rejected the fresh application for Bedford Free School, which had attempted to address concerns about traffic congestion.

Governor Nigel Syson said they would appeal and the school would "be opening in September as planned".

Nearly 200 pupils aged 11 to 13 are due to start there on 6 September.

Councillors decided letting the school open opposite the town's college, in one of its former buildings, would cause too much disruption to users of the road and nearby premises.

The new plans stated that parents would be barred from dropping their children off outside the school.

Space concerns

Councillors also raised concerns about a lack of recreational space for children. There is no playing field and the playground measures 220 square metres.

At capacity, councillors heard, each child would have half a square metre to themselves.

But Mr Syson said the governors had received legal advice which suggested the building already had the required planning permission - "as granted to leasees Bedford College earlier in the year".

"We have the approval of the government department which is funding the school, plus Ofsted approval and the support of parents and pupils," he said.

"We have an appeal against the planning decision scheduled for 25th September and we will win.

"In the meantime we have the important business of a school to open and pupils to welcome."

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