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School taking on 150 more pupils
EXPANSION plans at a Colchester secondary school have been given the green light.
The Gilberd School, in Brinkley Lane, Highwoods, will get an additional 150 pupils over five years.
Essex County Council officers have approved the cost plans for phase one of the expansion – a new sports hall and other work.
In phase two, extra classrooms will be built. The costs of the project have not yet been made public.
Under the plans, part of a Colchester-wide strategy to tackle a predicted shortage of school places, the Gilberd will grow from 1,350 pupils to 1,500.
Gerard Oxford, borough councillor for Highwoods, said the school site had doubled in size since its move to the estate in 1985.
He said: “The existing sports hall is being used for dining facilities because the school is huge. The new hall will be big enough to cater for all pupils and also be used jointly with the council for the sports complex when the school is not in operation.
“This will be as much as we can get on the site, otherwise it would be overdevelopment, which is why land has been set aside elsewhere in north Colchester for another secondary school site.”
Mr Oxford added he and the school would continue to push for a pedestrian crossing in Brinkley Grove Road to make it safer for pupils.
The expansion was included in a consultation last year into the rising number of secondary age youngsters in the borough.
Alderman Blaxill, to shut at the end of this school year, is earmarked to be reopened as a school site later this decade.
The Gazette revealed last month question marks loomed over another part of the plan, a secondary school on a development site in north Colchester.
County Hall criticised Colchester Council for failing to secure £15million to help build the school from developers who intend to build 1,600 homes off Nayland Road.
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