MORE than 240 primary school places look set to be created in Colchester with a £21million investment.

Essex County Council estimates it will have to provide the space in the next three years.

It proposes to spend about £6million on providing a new primary school at the former Severalls Hospital site, where 1,500 homes are to be built.

A further £15million will go towards expanding nine primaries, all of which had youngsters on the waiting list for this year.

Much of the money will go towards building a new campus for St John’s Green Primary School, about 500m from its current site, at Abbey Fields.

The school would double in size, from 30 pupils in each year to 60, and get playing fields for the first time.

This campus would be instead of a separate primary school originally earmarked for the garrison redevelopment.

Headteacher Simon Billings said the popularity of the school and the thousands of homes being built at former garrison buildings surrounding Abbey Fields meant the expansion was necessary.

He said: “From my point of view and the governors’ point of view, it’s a very exciting opportunity. Having a field would be absolutely fantastic.

“I’m excited about the prospect but I’m aware we have a consultation. I hope parents will support it, and the public will see this is a good proposal.”

With thousands more homes being built to the north of Colchester, five primary schools there are to be expanded.

Parents at North Primary School have been sent a letter outlining proposals to gradually expand the school from 270 pupils to 420.

The letter, from headteacher Alan Garnett and chairman of governors Jan Blackwell, said: “We wish to do everything we can to meet the educational needs of all the children in our community, but not to the detriment of the education experiences of those at the school.”

Mr Garnett added: “In principle, we’re very happy to expand to meet the needs of our community.”

A consultation on the plans will run until March.

Drop-in sessions will be held at the Army Welfare Service Community Centre, Fallowfield Road, on March 1, from 10am to 6pm, and at the Colchester Academy, Greenstead, on March 3, from 10am to 8pm.

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