The expansion of a primary school in Newmarket has been backed by the county council as a viable option.

Members of Suffolk County Council’s cabinet were asked on Tuesday to consider the provision of primary education in Newmarket to meet the demand created by the 988 new homes allocated for the town.

The discussion was part of the county council’s response to West Suffolk’s final local plan consultation, and councillors agreed to back the expansion of Laureate Community Primary Academy as one of three viable options.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Andy DrummondCllr Andy Drummond (Image: Amy Drummond)

Cllr Andy Drummond, who represents Newmarket at the county level, said he welcomed the decision and would be keen to see space to the rear of Laureate school be used.

But the county council said delivering the required 210 new places by expanding the current school would mean it needed to be done either by relocation or through a split site into land within the 415-homes Pinewood Stud development site. This is because expanding into the current school site’s extra space would only deliver 105 new places.

Relocating or operating the current Laureate school building as a split site on land within the Pinewood Stud development would allow for pupils coming from the development to walk to school while better transport connections would have to be put in place to connect it to another major housing development, Hatchfield Farm.

East Anglian Daily Times: Laureate Community Primary Academy in Newmarket.Laureate Community Primary Academy in Newmarket. (Image: Google Maps)

Cllr Drummond said a further compromise could be reached by building the new school on the former middle school site at Scaltback, where planning permission has already been granted.

According to the county council, however, this could mean pupils coming from Hatchfield Farm could be disadvantaged by being further away from their school.

Another option included the delivery of a new primary school within the Hatchfield Farm development, but Cllr Drummond said there was little appetite for this option due to concerns over the impact on the horseracing industry.

He said: “Horseracing movements happen in the morning and finish by lunchtime — to have people in cars taking their kids to school at the same time would be dangerous.”