Harperbury Free School

Department for Education written question – answered on 23rd February 2016.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, by what process her Department ensured the site secured for the proposed Harperbury Free School (a) was large enough and (b) met other requirements to be suitable for a secondary school with the capacity for up to 840 students and 70 staff.

Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she was first made aware that the site initially secured for Harperbury Free School was too small for that school; and what steps she took in response to that information.

Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether she has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Health on making more land available at the proposed site for Harperbury Free School to enable the planning application for that site to proceed with a site large enough to meet local planning officers' requirements.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

Approval to build the school on the site is subject to the views of the Local Planning Authority. They first raised concerns, alongside a range of other concerns arising from its location in the Green Belt, to my officials in March 2015.

Discussions between officials at both Departments did identify that two adjacent properties could be purchased to provide additional car parking. However, the nature of the sale of the remainder of the former hospital site to a residential developer meant that further land could not be released for the school. Even if additional land were made available, there remain substantial risks associated with developing this Green Belt site.

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