The preferred site for a new 600-place secondary school in a Suffolk village has been revealed by the county council.

On Tuesday, members of Suffolk County Council’s cabinet were asked to weigh in on school provision for the Mildenhall, Lakenheath, and Red Lodge areas as part of West Suffolk’s final local plan consultation.

As it stands, councillors expect housing growth in all three areas to create enough demand for a new 600-place secondary school to be built by 2027.

East Anglian Daily Times: Plans for a new 600 pupil school in Herringswell could come to fruitionPlans for a new 600 pupil school in Herringswell could come to fruition (Image: Google Maps)

This is on top of an additional 300 places to be available at Mildenhall Academy by 2024/25.

Cllr Richard Smith, cabinet member for economic development, skills, transport strategy and waste, announced the council’s current preferred location was an 11.88ha portion of land just south of Red Lodge, by Warren Road, within the Herringswell parish boundary.

Although a school on this site could be expanded to accommodate 1,200 pupils, the delivery of the initial 600-place building, would require around £18m in developer contributions from other projects in the area as well as a further £11m from other unspecified sources.

A new secondary school in the area would help provide education provision to over 210 pupils travelling out of Red Lodge to other mainstream schools and 40 for SEND needs.

It would also mean pupils currently attending one of two primary schools located in the village, both of which could expand to 420 places each, wouldn’t have to travel further for secondary education. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Cllr Andy DrummondCllr Andy Drummond

Cllr Andy Drummond, who represents both Herringswell and Red Lodge parishes at the district level, said some concerns had been raised with him by Herringswell Parish Council over fears the new school would be lead to overdevelopment within the village in the coming years.

He suggested more consultation was still needed and that two specific sites, one at the heart of Red Lodge and another within the Barton Mills parish boundary, were better options — both of these were considered worse by the county council due to environment, access, land ownership, and public safety concerns.

Cllr Drummond said: “Everything in the local plan is going through consultation but, at this moment, the plan identifies the need for a school but doesn’t say where — it hasn’t been properly consulted.”

Cllr Smith said a final conclusion would be reached over the next few days taking into consideration some of the criticisms to do with the county council’s preferred site.