David Lyons from Aylesbury’s Green Party has been left furious as section 106 money earmarked for development at Long Crendon School has instead been used to fund development at Brill School.
A section 106 agreement is an agreement between a developer and a local planning authority about measures that the developer must take to reduce their impact on the community. Often this involves obtaining concessions and contributions from the developer.
Mr Lyons said: “In total the two agreements are likely to provide around £300,000 for investment in primary education. But rather than expand the very well regarded village school, the county council has allocated the money to Brill School. Long Crendon School has been grappling for years with the economics of trying to open an additional reception class that would enable all village children to attend. Now with the population of Long Crendon set to grow even further, we cannot understand why the County Council is failing to invest in expanding the local school.”
Councillor Zahir Mohammed said: “With regard to Long Crendon School, we are aware it is a popular and successful school and is generally full in all year groups. Typically in rural areas, the population can be volatile and fluctuate year on year – so there are some years where the school is oversubscribed within catchment and transport has had to be provided to the next nearest school with places.
“The level of growth currently proposed by development in the area or that in the neighbourhood plan (i.e. up to c.100 homes) is not sufficient to justify the expansion of Long Crendon School by another form of entry, as it would result in the creation of surplus places.
“Across the area as a whole, schools are close to capacity - although they (including Brill School) have scope for smaller scale expansion if needed to accommodate any increased demand from the relatively small scale growth allocated in the neighbourhood plan. BCC will continue to review the population and pupil trends and only provide additional places where considered necessary. As you will also be aware, Aylesbury Vale District Council is currently proposing within their draft local housing plan significant development across Aylesbury Vale which is projected to put increased pressure on school places.
“However, due to the policy vacuum that currently exists, a number of developers are submitting ‘opportunistic’ applications ahead of the publication of any housing plan – which is not an ideal situation as the local authority is having to respond to each application on its individual merits rather than through proper planning. This problem is exacerbated by legislation which now requires the naming of schools within S106 funding agreements and limits the pooling of up to five contributions towards one project.”