Warning over school place shortage in Somerset

Somerset County Council office building Nine new housing developments could increase demand for school places

Building new housing developments could cause a shortage of school places and school buildings across Somerset.

A Somerset County Council budget report has warned the authority will need to find £23m to meet the demand for new schools in future.

Some £5m will be secured through contributions from developers but it will not meet the full costs needed.

The council has said it hopes to to get the remaining balance through its own reserves and central government funds.

The council has based its figures on nine new housing developments across the county which would result in the increased need for school places.

But it is not known when these housing developments will be completed or when new families move in.

Chair of the Somerset Schools Forum, Linda Vijeh, said: "We do try to plan ahead but I think in the particular economic climate it has been very difficult for anybody anywhere to be able to predict numbers.

"But plans are in place to accommodate those planning developments that we're expecting and I believe the plans right across the board for large housing developments won't happen as quickly as we believe they will."

Under 106 section agreements, developers are obliged to contribute to local amenities such as schools and roads when they build new housing estates.

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