New moves to guarantee Exeter school goes ahead
Posted on: 13 July 2016
Devon County Council this week issued a compulsory purchase order to enable work to start on a new primary school in Exeter.
The Trinity Church of England primary school is designed to serve the growing community at Newcourt off Topsham Road.
The school was originally planned to open in September 2016.
But building work had to be called off last autumn when Devon could not reach agreement with a number of landowners about rights and access to the proposed site of the school.
Now – following protracted negotiations and a new planning application – agreement has been reached with all but one of the interested parties.
Agreement has been reached with the Dart family, who own the land, but rights to access and services could not be agreed with one of the other landowners.
As a result, the county council has issued a CPO to ensure it has the necessary rights to build and service the new school.
But it warned if the order is contested the school may not be ready to open in September 2017.
Devon’s Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said:
“It is with great regret that I have had to confirm this CPO.
“There has already been considerable delay in the building of this much-needed new school.
“People who have bought homes in the area had expected to have a new school for their children opening last year. Their rightful expectations have been thwarted.
“We now have agreement with all the other landowners and interested parties to allow work to begin. But we can’t start because of the intransigence of one of the interested parties who had previously agreed to the access.
“We will continue to negotiate, but I cannot stand by and see local families – and the wider community in Exeter – held to ransom.
“Clearly, if there is a lengthy court case over the imposition of the CPO, then the scheme might be delayed again. But this is the only course of action left open to us.”
The Diocese of Exeter’s Director of Education, John Searson, said:
“It appears the school is being used as a ‘football’ to resolve a range of issues across the wider development and it is the local residents, who bought their homes in good faith being promised a local primary school and nursery, who are being made to suffer.
“The Diocese, working with Devon County Council, planned to have the school open for the community in September 2016, this timetable was then postponed to 2017 because we were not allowed on the site, and now a year has gone by and at the 11th hour it appears yet another impasse has been reached.
“We wholeheartedly support Devon County Council in serving a CPO to bring this to a conclusion once and for all, but we are really disappointed that this has been necessary and that the needs of the local community are still not yet being met.
“The Diocese is still committed to deliver the school for Newcourt as soon as the legal issues are resolved.”
Posted in: Education