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Free-school plan for development site

by Jim Dunton Mon 23 December 2013, 1:00 pm

Watchdog Bromley councillors have been told that the government's Education Funding Agency (EFA) has bought the site of a proposed mixed-use development in the town with the intention of using the existing building as a free school.

In October, Invest Bromley reported that Telereal Trillium had been granted planning permission to redevelop the former Department for Health and Social Security building in Westmoreland Road with a 71-home development that also boasted 1,517sq metres of office space.

But the most recent meeting of Bromley Council’s renewal and recreation policy development and scrutiny committee heard that the EFA had secured the existing building to house the new Bromley Bilingual School, which is set to open in 2014 but has yet to confirm a base.

Councillors were told that under the EFA plans, the vacant building would be retained in its original style except for some modification to the roof and internal refurbishments.

A consultation on the future home for the English-French language free school closed on 3 January.

Under current education and planning legislation, no change-of-use permission is required to open free schools during their first year.

However, for subsequent years a “light-touch” prior-approval system operates, where councils can only consider noise and traffic impacts related to the new schools.

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