New Bury secondary school plans edge closer as new road approved

The local council is set to agree later this week to cover the costs of an access road to north of the site.

A long-awaited new secondary school for Radcliffe is set to clear another hurdle with Bury Council agreeing to pay for an access road.

The council is set to agree later this week to cover the costs of an access road to north of the site, known as Coney Green, off Spring Lane.

Last November, the council agreed to transfer the site to the Department for Education (DfE) and Star Academy Trust, who will operate the school.

At that time, the council said the decision would ‘unlock the delivery of a new secondary school for Radcliffe’.

A report to Bury Council’s cabinet, who will meet tomorrow (13 July), said that a feasibility study conducted earlier this year by the DfE had now ‘produced high level plans for the school, determined site layouts, including the access road, and from that determined an outline programme for construction of the new school, together with indicative costs’.

Spring Lane, Radcliffe, Bury

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Those council costs for the access road and demolition of existing buildings, including Radcliffe’s leisure centre, which is on the site, are set to be met by the council’s children’s services capital budget.

The cost to the council has not been made public.

Building the new school would mean the demolition of the current pool and leisure centre and the Spring Lane school pupil referral unit.

The Star Academy Trust and the DfE are now expected to submit a planning application for the new school in coming months.

Bury Council said they had ‘been asked to provide full vacant possession of the site, by September 2022’ and ‘for the project to proceed the very latest date for vacant possession is March 1, 2024’.

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The report from Coun Lucy Smith, cabinet member for children’s services gave details about the discussion about funding the access road.

She said: “The DfE deemed that the procurement and construction of the access road, separate to the school construction contract, would constitute too great a risk, and it was therefore agreed that the access road would be procured and constructed through the DfE framework, to a specification agreed by the council, and enabling access to the site to the north to be preserved.

“This specification has now been provided to the DfE.

“The provisional financial obligations to the council have been identified, and which are now being set out in this report.

“The full feasibility study was due to be shared with the council at the beginning of June but is still awaited.”

From a total secondary age cohort of 11,203 students in all Bury schools, 1,733 (15.5 per cent) live in Radcliffe.

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82 % of Radcliffe children attend a Bury school, with the balance travelling outside the borough.

36 % of Radcliffe secondary age children travel more than 2.5 miles to school compared with 18 per cent of the total Bury resident secondary age cohort travelling over the same distance.