Free School Planning Application

The free school application was the idea of the IBIS Ward Councillors in 2010, as this was the agenda of the incoming government. IBIS set up BO2SS, that has since become Ingleby Manor Foundation Trust (IMFT), to pursue the free school bid. As a result we met with our MP to get his support for the free school in May 2010 which was forthcoming and the process has progressed since then. The free school bid was to provide another secondary school for our community to be paid for by public funds.

During the initial application, November 2010, there was a set of draft indicative head of terms proposed between Satnam and the government for the school site to be leased at a peppercorn rent. IBIS Ward Councillors were told during the business case stage, under no circumstances should anyone get involved in the land issue, as it must be left to the Education Funding Agency and that the issue is private and confidential. The free school application was handed over to parents to lead in February 2011 on the instruction of Central Government.

On 9 July 2012, the developer (Satnam) consulted with our community on 250 homes and a free school. At the consultation, the Developer stated that the homes are required because the new school is not affordable.  The homes would be classed enabling development when the Developer submitted a Planning Application to SBC. On 15 October 2012, a planning application was submitted for 350 homes and the school. However, the housing is being pursued under the 5 year supply rule, NOT an enabling development.

This application should have openness and transparency, but it doesn’t, which is one of the main areas that has caused concern in Ingleby Barwick.

As the developer has removed the link from housing from a “Enabling Development” to the “5 Year Housing Supply”, concern rightly exists that if Government fails to approve the school, then permission is already granted for housing.

The vast majority of objections to the Planning application are quoting the principal reason for refusal as additional housing on the existing strained infrastructure on Ingleby Barwick and the surrounding area.  Residents are concerned to see what would appear to be two access roads on the outline site plans.  What are these access roads for?  Residents and Ward Councillors need to be assured that this application of 350 homes is not a ‘Trojan Horse’ for further development in the future.  As reported in both The Northern Echo (17.5.2013) and the Evening Gazette (20.5.2013), this site could potentially have 1,350 new homes when all is required is a secondary school!

IMFT state they support the secondary school and 350 homes. IBIS Ward Councillors supports the secondary school only because SBC Planners, and planners at other local authorities, have advised us that if the site gets the 350 homes, it goes up in terms of planning sustainability and it will be significantly more likely to obtain approval for the additional 1,000 homes. The occupants of the potential 1,350 homes will have around 450 secondary school age children at any point in time, who will be in the catchment zone for Thornaby Academy, and NOT the new free school, All Saints, Conyers or Egglescliffe. Still leaving our community divided between those children that can walk to school in Ingleby Barwick and those bussed off, which will then include Thornaby in even larger numbers.

IBIS set up the free school campaign / bid to stop children being bussed to/from secondary school.  After IBIS handed this project over to parents (IMFT) and central government, the result is 350 more houses with a potential of an additional 1,000, a land deal with no transparency and the new school will be negated by the additional children in the new homes when they are complete. This will also create the need for another 420 place primary school, an issue we thought we had just solved with the 420 places we fought for by expanding St Francis and Barley Fields, plus the huge “Traffic Issues”.

Our MP only mentions the free school, conveniently forgetting the 1,350 houses that potentially go with it, and that the bussing of children will still continue. This scheme is now a shambles. It was no surprise when Eric Pickles give it the go ahead in September, totally ignoring SBC’s valid case for rejection by Planning Committee because of the housing only.  The 350 homes associated with the Free School has taken our community back over 20 years.  The 1992 Revised Master Plan for Ingleby Barwick dropped the original Village 3 (Little Maltby Farm).  This Master Plan and laid the foundations for Ingleby Barwick to be a community of 6 villages known as Lowfields, Beckfields, Sober Hall, Round Hill, Broom Hill and The Rings.

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