A number of constituents have been in touch with questions regarding the proposed new school in Wisbech
Why does Wisbech need another school?
It has been known to Cambridgeshire County Council for some time that Wisbech is in need of a new school to provide places for the expected number of children in the town in years to come.
This is already reflected in the current data, which show that 148 children attending from the Thomas Clarkson Academy catchment area currently attend Neale Wade Academy in March.
A new school in Wisbech will create 600 spaces for children in Wisbech and surrounding villages (with potential for further growth). This will benefit March also, by easing the pressure for spaces at March schools who are currently providing places for the overspill in Wisbech.
It has also been proposed that the TBAP Unity Academy in Wisbech, which was being threatened with closure, would be able to relocate to the SEN school on the new site.
Why was this site chosen as the site for the new school?
The land which is the proposed site for the new school is owned by Cambridgeshire County Council which makes the scheme feasible from a financial perspective. This location would be ideal to create a new catchment area, to serve Wisbech and the surrounding villages of Gorefield, Leverington, Wisbech St Mary, Parson Drove, Murrow, Guyhirn etc.
This compliments the current plans at Thomas Clarkson Academy, as it doesn’t block their ongoing improvements or intake, whilst offering choice and availability to hundreds of our children who might otherwise have to travel out of catchment to school.
What action is being taken to ease the traffic that will undoubtedly increase once the scheme is built?
Residents are correct in my view to question the impact of an increase in traffic. The government have allocated £10.5 million to improve highways and access in Wisbech. Fenland District Council have proposed various measures to alleviate traffic issues short-term and a new bridge on the longer-term delivery plan. You can view this in detail here.
When will I be able to see the plans for the proposed new school?
This scheme has been in the County Council forward plan for a number of years. This week saw a unanimous vote that this scheme should go ahead and £20 million investment has been approved by Cambridgeshire County Council. The next phase is to develop more detailed plans which will be made publicly available as it is progressed and local people will have the opportunity to review and comment as this information becomes available.
I will keep constituents updated on this as information becomes available to me.
How will the new school compliment other schemes happening in the town?
The Wisbech Rail Project is coming on well, funding for the next phase of engineering assessments have now been agreed at a cost of £3.2 million. Fenland District Council also confirmed last week that they agreed to my recommendation to amend their proposed road schemes in Wisbech to ensure that Wisbech Rail remains an option. An £8m investment in North Cambs MIU has been approved to improve and expand services.