A NEW primary school near Ellesmere Port is a step closer as the council has opened up public consultation.

As a result of the Ledsham Road development, Little Sutton, known as Ledsham Garden Village, up to 2,000 new homes are being built and the Cheshire West and Chester Council Local Plan has identified the need for a new primary school for children aged three to 11.

This is explained in the consultation document which states the ‘free school’ would be built in stages, but the aim is to have it ready for September 2026.

It says: “It is projected that the 2,000 dwellings proposed for the Ledsham Road site are likely to yield approximately 368 children aged four to 11 who will require school places in the local area.

“Strategic housing developments forecast annual build rates, to which we apply forecast annual pupils expected. The actual dwellings that are occupied and the children that arise from them can fluctuate.

“The council continually monitors children arising from new housing. It must be noted, larger developments can take many years to build out, and in some cases, this will be driven by the economy.

RECOMMENDED READING; Redrow submits plans for 625 new homes in Ellesmere Port

“Building a school in stages will assist in managing the places needed at the time, whilst ensuring the sustainability of existing schools.

“Based on forecast need and the timeline to deliver a new School, it is anticipated that the new school will be required to open at the earliest, September 2026.”

According to the consultation, the developers have identified a site for the new school and the council is looking at potential pupil numbers and catchment area.

It says: “Initially the school will open as a 210 place mainstream primary school, with the intention to have a further 105 places expansion as the housing development progresses and the pupil place need arises. The school will accommodate mixed genders.

“The school will have pre-school provision and will be expected to accommodate children aged three to 11 years. The developer has agreed to the allocation of a site for the building of a new primary school.”

The consultation document adds: “Admission arrangements, which may include a catchment area for the new primary free school, would ultimately be decided by the sponsoring Trust.

“The council will however strongly expect a collaborative approach when determining these arrangements in order to ensure cohesion and sustainability of the local primary school economy and that any proposed arrangements reflect local needs.

“A school’s catchment area is a defined area which has been determined for the school to serve. The Council is proposing to establish a new catchment area for the new school.

RECOMMENDED READING; Ellesmere Port Winter Pride event confirmed

“The proposed new catchment area for the new school at Ledsham Garden Village will be to serve the new development only, however the existing school catchment areas for Little Sutton Primary and Capenhurst Primary will remain and will become shared catchment areas for the new school.

The consultation runs until December 17.

A virtual drop-in session takes place on November 27, from 5pm to 6:30pm (contact SchoolOrganisationandConsultations@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk to register your interest)

An electronic survey can also be completed at: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/Ledsham/

All feedback will need to be completed and returned no later than 11.59pm on December 17. All feedback received during the informal consultation period will be considered and used to formalise the specification for the new primary school.

Once the specification has been agreed the council can progress publishing the specification inviting Trusts, Free Schools or Academy Providers to submit proposals to run the school. It is anticipated this will be early spring term 2024.

Once proposals are received and have been evaluated, the council will provide its assessments of each proposer to the Secretary of State, including the councils recommended sponsor and all scoring for each proposal.

The Department for Education Regional Director, on behalf of the Secretary of State, will then make the final decision on the most suitable proposer to take forward the new free school.

The Council will work with the successful proposer, the Department for Education and the housing developer to open the new school at the earliest September 2026.