Funding agreed for highways improvements around new secondary school in Harpenden

Harpenden’s new secondary school will receive up to £4.555 million in Herts county council funding for highways works around the site.

Building work is underway at the new Katherine Warington School in Harpenden. Picture: Katherine Warington School

Katherine Warington 3 - Credit: Archant

Construction work is ongoing at Katherine Warington School, which is due to open in September, but the Department for Education indicated it needed confirmation of "a specific sum" as a matter of urgency so it can continue to commission highways works.

The county council's cabinet agreed an additional budget for the new school, which was outlined in private, in a meeting on Monday, May 13. Within that budget they approved a capital contribution of up to £4.555 million towards off-site works, which aim to improve road safety around the school building.

Cllr Terry Douris, executive member for education, libraries and localism, said: "The Katherine Warington School is a major school development that will provide additional places in the area.

"Any major project may require adjustment in funding."

Although Cllr Douris pointed to the financial implications, he said the council's finance officer and Cllr Ralph Sangster, executive member for resources and performance, had agreed it was a "necessary way forward".

Cllr Sangster said they had been "robust" in challenging whether these funds were required, but said: "We believe the vesting of these funds, as proposed, is the best way of achieving the outcome for the school".

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The highways improvements will include traffic calming and road safety measures, allowing pupils to travel to and from school more safely. There will also be improvements to cycle tracks, footpaths and bus stops to support sustainable travel, as well as road widening, remodelling and new entrances built from the highway onto the school site.

Katherine Warington was initially due to open in September last year, but was delayed due to several planning hurdles. Currently a two-storey sports centre is being built, which will be converted into temporary classrooms for the first year intake in September.

The main school building, which will accommodate 1,150 pupils and 65 classrooms, is due to be completed by September 2020, at which point the sports centre will be converted back to its original purpose.