Almost £50 million earmarked for new primary and secondary school on outskirts of Leamington

The schools will be built as part of the Oakley Grove development south of Whitnash.

The site for the Oakley Grove development south of Whitnash.

Nearly £50 million has been earmarked by Warwickshire County Council for the new primary and secondary schools to be built as part of the Oakley Grove development south of Whitnash.

Planning permission has already been granted for the schools that will eventually have spaces for nearly 1,400 children with the option of a sixth form in the future.

Around £38m of funding will come from the Government with the remainder being sourced from section 106 money acquired from developers when housing estates are built.

Cllr Jeff Morgan (Con, Bulkington and Whitestone), the council’s portfolio holder for children, families and education, explained there would be challenges in building the schools in time for taking their first pupils in two years time.

Speaking at yesterday's (Thursday's) cabinet meeting he said: “There is no doubt that new schools are needed in the area with 4,500 new homes being built over the next few years. Analysis shows that there will be insufficient places in the south Leamington area and that we need a new secondary and primary school to cater for the numbers and to open in September 2023.

“The good news is that we have a site at Oakley Grove and that’s at no cost because it is through a section 106 deal. We also have outline planning permission with Warwick District Council.

“There will be early years provision, a two-form entry primary school and a six-form entry secondary with options for post 16 further down the line. It will be an academy and tenders will be issued trusts to operate the school when funding is agreed - and that’s what we are here for now.

“There are one or two challenges associated with this. The site is far from perfect - it is a sloping site so it will take some cost to flatten it for play areas and sports pitches and there is a request in from Warwick District Council for community use but this uplift will only go ahead if we get external funding because our responsibility is to build the school for the places.”

The final decision of funding will be taken at the full council meeting on September 28 but cabinet members gave their unanimous support.

Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals and Cawston), the portfolio holder for finance, said: “This is a good news story in terms of the delivery of the school; it is just that the timing and certain aspects of the site have made this an expensive project.

“This is a perfect storm in terms of expenditure - we have a difficult site that has added extra expenditure and also the timing is in competition with HS2 in terms of the cost of resources being inflated.”