Amber Valley Borough Council expected to give Duffield school’s sixth form extension plan green light despite residents’ parking fears

Ecclesbourne School is set to get the go ahead for an extension to its sixth form block due to existing space being “inadequate and overcrowded” for rocketing pupil numbers.

The school on Wirksworth Road, Duffield, is set to see pupil numbers rise from 1,420 to 1,625.

Ecclesbourne School in Duffield is expected to get the green light to extend its sixth form block.

Ecclesbourne School in Duffield is expected to get the green light to extend its sixth form block.

Officers at Amber Valley Borough Council have recommended that the plans are approved at a meeting on Monday, October 15.

However, “exasperated” residents close to the site fear that existing issues with students parking on streets near the school will only increase as a result of the plans.

They would include five more parking spots at the site, and highways chiefs say that “objection based on the lack of parking would be sustainable” with the extra spots seen as a “reasonable solution”.

In 2014, the school’s governing body approved an expansion from seven-form entry to eight-form entry at Year 7 – with each form containing up to 30 places – which will see up to 240 new pupils starting at the beginning of each school year.

The additional form of entry into Year 7 was introduced in September, 2015.

A report submitted by the school states that of the forecast total 1,625 pupils, 1,205 would be aged 11-16 and 420 would be in Post 16 (sixth form).

If approved, the sixth form expansion would create space for “much-needed” study and teaching space, along with more room in the café.

A report from the school, submitted with the application states: “The existing sixth form facilities are inadequate and overcrowded.

“A key feature of the proposals is the incorporation of a movable partition, to provide additional flexibility in meeting post-16 group sizes for formal and informal learning.

“The proposal therefore provides much-needed space for sixth form study, as well as offering additional formal A-Level teaching spaces for up to two class groups at a time.

“The proposed expansion of the existing sixth form café servery will also provide sufficient area for the catering offer to expand to include hot food rather than just snacks – this will be a significant move in reducing pressure on the main kitchen facility.”

Sport England has objected to the plans due to the loss of space on the playing field and running track, including space where cricket nets are kept.

It stated: “The project would result in a permanent quantitative loss of usable playing field due to the new/extended building, and a further temporary loss associated with disturbance of adjoining playing field land due to the construction works.”

The school has said that the cricket nets are disused and that the development would not “prejudice” the playing field or space available for sports.

Borough councillor Steven Evanson, who represents Duffield, said that the extra five parking spaces “in no way solves the potential problem”.

He said: “The bulk of the residents’ concerns are around on-street parking by sixth form students in residential streets. The revised plans seem to indicate an additional five car spaces.

“By not providing adequate on-site parking, the school will exacerbate the existing parking problems on Wirksworth Road, Park Road, and others, and push their problem on to their already exasperated neighbours.”

One of the conditions attached to the application by the borough council, on behalf of the county council highways department, is that the school must submit an adequate travel plan which “promotes and encourages” alternatives to single-occupancy car journeys to the site, such as through car-pooling, walking or cycling.