Millions of pounds will be spent on improving Towcester’s secondary school as developers prepare to double the size of the town.
When Persimmon and Bloor Homes first produced a masterplan for 2,750 new homes to the south and west of Towcester in 2007, they included plans to rebuild Sponne School at the southern end of the town near to Cow Pastures.
A second, later plan put the new school on the western edge of town – but speaking exclusively to the Advertiser this week, Andrew Grant, Northants County Council’s member for children, said instead ‘several million pounds’ will be ploughed into the school’s current site in Brackley Road.
He said: “The proposed site would have been at the southern extremity of the town, past the racecourse, and I think there could have been implications on transport, but that’s irrelevant now.”
He added: “Sponne is one of the few outstanding schools in the county under the new Ofsted regime and there is a great buzz around the school – this will secure Sponne at the heart of the community.”
Developers have also agreed to build two new primary schools capable of teaching 420 pupils each.
The site once allocated for the secondary school will now be turned into two adult football pitches, three junior pitches, a hard court the size of three tennis pitches and changing facilities.
Mr Grant added: “The first thing someone asked me when I was elected in 2003 was ‘where are my kids going to play football in Towcester?’”
Mr Grant said after years of discussion and delays caused by the recession, a planning application for the 2,750 new homes is expected to go before SNC planners in April.
Sponne’s headteacher Dr Jamie Clarke said: “The increase in capacity is relatively small and it makes sense to expand the current site rather than building a new, very small and uneconomic secondary school. We look forward to working to ensure sufficient funds are made available to accommodate this expansion at Sponne.”