By Local Democracy Reporter
PLANS for a new 140-place free school in Grays have been revealed in a planning application submitted to the council.
The Treetops Free School could be built next to the existing Treetops Academy and the two schools will operate together as a single campus.
The free school will be a primary and secondary school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties and on the autistic spectrum.
It will include six primary school classrooms, eight secondary school classrooms, a library, facilities for art, design, music and science, and a dining room.
This will all be built around a central courtyard which will be used as a dining and social area, as well as an outdoor space for the youngest pupils.
To deal with the additional cars visiting the site, the plans also include a new car park which will be created at the front of the building.
In a planning statement submitted with the application, the developer admits the plans aim to build the school on the green belt but there are “very special circumstances” to justify it due to the growing demand for school places, which is believed to be growing by 30 extra pupils each year.
Treetops is set to be one of three new free schools built in Thurrock in the coming years. Orsett Heath Secondary and Thames Park Secondary are both at different stages of development and are expected to bring more than a thousand extra places.
In February Councillor James Halden, who is responsible for education in the borough, announced the council would be spending £1million to expand existing secondary schools to avoid temporary solutions.
He added that the schools are “vital and massive investment” that will tackle a historic problem where Thurrock has around 19,000 primary school places and only 11,000 secondary school places.
The Treetops Free School will be discussed by a future planning committee where a decision will be made on whether to grant planning permission.