Draft Settlement Investment and Development (ID) Plans-Esher

Education

5.2 It is expected that demand for school places in Esher will increase due to both new development and changing demographics in the area. Over the next ten years it is expected that at least one form of entry will be required in Esher to meet demand for primary places and five forms of entry at secondary level. Working with Surrey County Council, we have identified a number of options as to where investment could take place in schools in Esher in order to meet the growing need for school places.

5.3 Our preferred option is to identify those educational establishments where there is capacity for permanent expansion to accommodate an increase in pupil numbers as ‘Education Opportunity Areas’.  This will ensure that such sites are safeguarded to ensure that sufficient land is available to accommodate future need.  Assessments of capacity are based on the findings of the Education Provision Assessment [1]  that was prepared in partnership with Surrey County Council or on additional evidence provided. The aim of this Settlement ID Plan is to only identify where there is physical capacity for expansion. It is the responsibility of Surrey County Council and local schools to agree the nature of provision (such as the balance between infant, junior and primary schools) and whether that provision addresses other factors such the preferences expressed by parents and the geographic spread of demand across an area.

Option A – Allocate existing school sites [2]  for potential expansion to accommodate an increase in pupil numbers
Option B – Do not allocate for expansion
 
Preferred Option: Allocate existing school sites for potential expansion to accommodate an increase in pupil numbers
 
Commentary: The preferred option will ensure that the schools identified are safeguarded for education expansion to ensure that sufficient land is available to accommodate future need. 

5.4 Due to their proximity, education provision for Esher and Claygate is considered by Surrey County Council alongside Thames Ditton, Long Ditton, Hinchley Wood and Weston Green, with capacity of all the schools in these areas being assessed when deciding how additional demand can be accommodated. The potential for schools to deliver identified needs are outlined in the relevant ID Plan [3] .In Esher, there is no identified capacity within the existing schools to meet additional demand for primary places and although Esher High has capacity it is located within the Green Belt and therefore capacity for growth is limited. 

5.5 Surrey County Council are currently considering the following proposals to increase the number of primary and secondary places in Esher and to help meet demand in adjoining areas

  • The relocation and expansion of Cranmere Primary School to provide an extra two forms of entry (increasing overall pupil numbers from 210 to 630) and a nursery class of 26 places.[4]
  • The expansion of Esher High School providing an additional 2 forms of entry.[5]

5.6 However, the proposed site for re-provision and expansion of Cranmere Primary School is in the Green Belt.  This would be a departure from the Local Plan and permission to build a school would require the approval from the Secretary of State. It is proposed that the scheme would be completed by September 2014 should approval be granted. Whilst there is limited scope within Esher to meet growth, the proposed school would also help to meet demand from the Thames Ditton, Long Ditton, Hinchley Wood and Weston Green area. However, the Education Provision Assessment identifies a number of other schools in the urban area with capacity for expansion and therefore the Council proposes to allocate those schools instead.

5.7 A similar situation could also arise at Esher High School where the County have suggested a 2 form of entry expansion. However, as the school is wholly within the Green Belt such an expansion is not considered ‘appropriate development’ and exceptional circumstances would have to be identified. 

1. Education Provision Assessment – www.elmbridge.gov.uk/planning [back]
2. Includes sites formerly in education use [back]
3. See Claygate and Thames Ditton, Long Ditton, Hinchley Wood and Weston Green ID Plans [back]
4. Surrey County Council School Organisation Consultation On a proposal to enlarge Cranmere Primary School in Esher www.surreycc.gov.uk [back]
5. Surrey County Council School Organisation Plan September 2012 www.surreycc.gov.uk [back]