Norfolk schools plan 'needs finance from house builders'

Up to 20 schools may be needed in Norfolk by 2030 and house builders are expected to help foot the bill.

The county council has already received £72m from government grants and contributions from house builders.

But a new secondary school is now needed north of Norwich where more than 3,000 new homes are planned.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) said developers had a limited amount of money available for infrastructure so the council must prioritise its needs.

Primary schools are also needed in Rackheath, Sprowston, Thetford and Attleborough, a council study revealed.

'Growing populations'

The county council is also planning extensions to existing schools after a shortfall of 6,300 places was predicted.

Steve Turner, from the HBF, said: "Developers already contribute a great deal to infrastructure but local authorities need to realise there is a limited amount of money available.

"It's a matter of balance so councils need to prioritise their needs and if that is to be education.

"Developers should pay their way but houses do not create people.

"Growing populations bring needs for homes and schools."

Significant population growth is predicted in Wymondham, Cringleford, Hethersett, Bradwell, Fakenham, Norwich, Trowse, Long Stratton, Waterbeach areas, Costessey and King's Lynn and this will bring a requirement for primary schools, the authority said.

'Additional funding bid'

The children's services overview and scrutiny panel will discuss the demands and future proposals when they meet next Thursday.

The council wants to see new schools being fully or partly funded from contributions by house builders.

Mick Castle, cabinet member for education and schools, said: "This report highlights the significant planning that is taking place and the efforts that we are taking to maximise outside sources of funding to support education across the county.

"We have to ensure that school places are available as new housing becomes available or as the population in local areas increases.

"We will also continue to bid for additional funding, where it may be available, to support urgent projects at existing schools."

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