A NEW primary school should be built in western Grays, new education portfolio holder and Leader of the Council, John Kent says.
Speaking at Thurrock Council’s cabinet, Cllr Kent highlighted proposals for a new school at the top of Belmont Road – which, if all goes to plan should open for September 2014.
He said: “This has so many advantages locally and across the borough, it seems to me it has got to happen. We’re only being asked to agree a feasibility study at the moment, but to me it’s just common sense.
“Thurrock has among the highest percentages of young people in the country and this part of our borough has some real traffic congestion issues we can greatly ease these problems if we do this properly.”
He added: “We need to carefully look at the feasibility of building this school on the disused allotments at the top of Belmont Road – with access from Devonshire Road or Askews Farm Road. That gives us the chance to ease local traffic and resolve school-place problems in South Stifford and Grays.
“It will also ease pupil-pressure on the primaries in Chafford – including the new free school if it goes ahead – and it will help Belmont Academy and West Thurrock Primary too.
Cllr Kent also won cabinet approval for consultations on providing more places at three other primary schools – Bonneygate, in South Ockendon; Graham James, in Stanford-le-Hope; and Purfleet.
He said: “The pressure on school places in Thurrock is increasing and to me it doesn’t matter whether these are academies or not, we should help and support.
“We’re looking at increasing the size of Bonnygate and Graham James and increasing Purfleet from two to three classes a year and we’re working closely with the schools, the heads and their trusts.”
Following consultations, the final decision on whether or not to go ahead rests with the each Academy Trust and the Education Funding Agency.