A high-performing Tandridge primary school could be rebuilt on a new site and expanded to create 210 more school places under a proposal being developed by Surrey County Council.
Warlingham Village Primary, which has an Ofsted “outstanding” rating, would be rebuilt nearby at significantly reduced cost to taxpayers under plans to help meet growing demand for school places in the Warlingham area.
The proposal, being drawn up by the county council in conjunction with local developer Asprey Homes, would involve expanding the school from one form to two forms of entry in state-of-the-art new buildings with more outside play space than it currently has. It would also mean local children no longer having to travel to schools further away.
The school is heavily oversubscribed and unable to expand on its current site.
The proposal would also involve providing new homes near the planned new school, which would help fund the school development. The school’s existing site would be retained by the county council which would work with Tandridge District Council to ascertain the best use of it for the local area.The site being considered for the proposed scheme is the Greenacres site, on the Limpsfield Road in Warlingham, around half a mile away from where the school is now. Greenacres is identified in Tandridge District Council’s Draft Local Plan as a potential site for development and the relocation and expansion of Warlingham Village Primary. The Local Plan was supported in principle by the district council at a meeting of the Planning Policy Committee on 3 July. However, as the Local Plan is only at draft stage, any planning application for a school on the site would need to demonstrate very special circumstances as it is on Green Belt land.
Mary Lewis, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Thousands more school places will be needed across Surrey over the coming years to meet demand from a growing population and this proposal offers the potential to help us create the places we need in Warlingham. The plans are at an early stage, but could mean a brand new school with plenty of outside space for Warlingham Village Primary pupils enabling more children to go there – all at significantly reduced cost to Surrey taxpayers.”
Stuart Mitchenall, chair of the school strategy board for Warlingham Village Primary, said: “The governors of the school and representatives from the GLF Schools Multi-Academy Trust are in dialogue with officers from Surrey County Council regarding the additional demand for places in the Tandridge area. We are keen to explore the options available and would ensure any solution maintains the quality of provision we currently offer at Warlingham Village. We place a high value on the role our school plays within the local village community and are committed to retaining this. We would aim to work together to ensure the enhanced facilities retain the existing advantages the school offers.”
A planning application is expected to be made to Tandridge District Council later this year. There would need to be a public consultation and approval from the Secretary of State for Education before any move to expand or relocate the school could go ahead.
Councillor Martin Fisher, Leader of Tandridge District Council, said: “We will be pleased to see a scheme which will deliver new school places for local children in an area where people struggle to send their children to a school nearby. Improving the infrastructure is one of the key aims of this Council and the draft Local Plan has identified school place requirements for Warlingham. When considering a detailed planning application we will need to carefully balance the need for more school places with the need to get an acceptable scheme on what is Green Belt land.”