Harpenden’s new secondary school approved by Secretary of State

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 March 2018

Farmland bordering Lower Luton Road on which Herts county council is keen to build a new school

Farmland bordering Lower Luton Road on which Herts county council is keen to build a new school

Archant

Harpenden’s new Katherine Warington School is set to open in September following final approval from the Secretary of State.

Tony Smith.Tony Smith.

Katherine Warington School was given the green light earlier this month and will open at the start of the academic year with Tony Smith, the current deputy head at Roundwood Park, as headteacher.

However groups opposed to the school opening still hoped that the Secretary of State would exercise his right to call-in an application, which means taking the decision out of the hands of the local planning authority.

Herts county council has now confirmed the school can open as planned for pupils in the 2018/2019 school year.

Terry Douris, the county council’s executive member for education, said: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State has made the decision not to call in the planning application for this much needed school.

“We now look forward to the new school opening its doors to Harpenden families.

“I would like to thank those in the local community who have supported the project and am sure this school will be a great success.”

Ben Bardsley, chair of Harpenden Parents Group, said: “We welcome this latest announcement from the Secretary of State. This decision overcomes another hurdle towards providing enough secondary school places for local children.

“Harpenden Parents Group continue to provide support and advice to anxious Harpenden and villages families who have not been allocated a secondary school locally for September 2018. The urgency and importance of ensuring that KWS opens this year must not be underestimated.”

However a statement from campaign group Right School, Right Place said: “The latest allocations confirm again that a new school is not needed for Harpenden, but that additional places to serve the entire area are the order of the day.

“It is disappointing that the Secretary of State failed to put our local communities at the heart of his decision when declining to hold the independent review that this proposal so badly needs.

“Combining this with HCC’s resounding lack of engagement and understanding of just how unsuitable this site is, is unlikely to silence the thousands of opposing voices that are based on sound spatial planning rather than the decision-making that has gone on to date.”

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