'New Blackpool school due to open in 2020 will save up to £50k per pupil'

A new school to be built in Blackpool has been granted planning permission.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 13th December 2018, 2:13 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 8:32 am
Artists impression of the Lotus School
Artists impression of the Lotus School

A new school to be built in Blackpool has been granted planning permission.

The scheme for the 48-place Lotus School on Langdale Road, Mereside, will cater for children with special needs and is due to open in 2020.

Read more New Blackpool school will cut cost of education

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It will mean youngsters can attend lessons closer to home, improving their educational chances and saving the council hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.

The site was formerly occupied by the Langdale Adult Training Centre which has since been demolished.

Members of Blackpool Council's planning committee raised concerns about the lack of grassed areas in the proposals, but approved the application unanimously.

Coun Andrew Stansfield said: "In this kind of environment, children can be extremely active and will need a grassed area to play.

"We have car parks and hard play areas and trees surrounding the site, and I'm not talking about needing football pitches but I think there should be more grassed areas."

But Coun Adrian Hutton said: "I think all this has been done in conjunction with the professionals who have advised this is the best layout for this type of school."

In their report to the committee, town hall planners said the development was "an appropriate re-use of this brownfield site and will bring a much needed education facility to the town. "

Consultation with nearby residents had been carried out and no objections had been received.

The two-storey building, which will be funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, will have classrooms on both floors, along with a science lab, school hall and specialist therapy and sensory rooms.

Currently Blackpool does not have specialist provision for pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, with children transported instead to 16 independent special schools outside the town.

Around 66 pupils commute for 40 to 50 minutes each way every day, costing the council between £23,000 and £50,000-a-year each. By contrast, the annual cost of each place in the new school is expected to be around £22,000.

The number of children needing special places is expected to grow to 825 by 2020, compared to 513 in 2012.