Court rules that Baytree School expansion can go ahead

Plans to expand Baytree School onto a second site in Brookfield Walk.

Baytree School has been given the green light to expand onto a second site. - Credit: Archant

A court has given the go-ahead to plans for a special educational needs school site to be built in Clevedon after a judicial review was lodged by a nearby resident.

Baytree School was unable to expand on its Weston campus so intended to build at Brookfield Walk in October 2021.

A neighbour's appeal was first heard by a judge in December and rejected before an appeal was launched.

Baytree School at Locking Campus. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Plans to expand Baytree School have faced a number of challenges. - Credit: Archant

North Somerset Council's executive for children's services was thrilled to hear that this appeal was also rejected.

Cllr Catherine Gibbons said: "I am delighted that we can now get on and start building this much-needed school site for our special educational needs community.

"It is frustrating that we have lost valuable months while we were waiting for the outcome of the claim for judicial review, but I could not be happier that the judge has found no merit in the claim and work can now begin."

Baytree School's expansion also faced challenges when an application for Town and Village Green status was refused and the planning decision was also referred to the Secretary of State who was happy to allow the matter to be decided by the local planning authority.

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However, the latest delays mean that the school's completion date is likely to be pushed back and its costs increased.

Cllr Gibbons added: "Given the huge amount of passion, commitment and energy that our officers and the school have put into this project already, it is disappointing for all involved that the delay has impacted on the build.

"It will mean that the chances of us having the school completed in time for opening in September 2023 are slim, with September 2024 now looking like a more realistic date.  

"This delay will impact on a lot of children who will not now benefit from education at this purpose-built site which is heartbreaking for everyone involved."

Cllr Catherine Gibbons.

Cllr Catherine Gibbons. - Credit: NSC

Baytree's headteacher confirmed that it will not be able to give a spot to each child who needs to be at the school due to the delays.

Ed Bowen-Roberts said: "Without the additional site in September 2023, we will not be able to provide places for all the children who we need to be at the school.

"We simply do not have the room. This will mean more children having to travel out of the area, more time away from home on longer journeys, and less time with their families.

 "I am pleased that work can now get underway on this much-needed site for the benefit of so many children and their families."

For more information on the expansion visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/schools-learning/local-schools/proposed-expansion-baytree-school