Plans for a new primary school at Roundswell have been approved by councillors, despite fears it is being built in the wrong place.

An artists impression of the new primary school at Roundswell. An artists impression of the new primary school at Roundswell.

North Devon Council's planning committee discussed the 420-place Roundswell Community Primary Academy School at Tews Lane at its meeting on Wednesday (June 12).

The committee heard from members of the public, including Roundswell Residents Association, fears the site was inappropriate for the new primary school due to potential traffic and access issues, citing an influx of new homes in the Roundswell and Bickington area since outline planning permission for the school was agreed with the 350-home Mont Bray development back in October 2014.

However, with the access and location of the school already agreed, councillors were only allowed to determine the plans for site's appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.

After the committee attempted to defer the application to examine the site's access and suitability, NDC's planning lead Mike Titchford intervened.

An artists impression of the new primary school at Roundswell. An artists impression of the new primary school at Roundswell.

"This is not officers being vexatious or putting obstacles in the way," he said.

"The proposal [to defer] is highways related. You do not have the lawful authority to examine these issues through determination of this planning application. We do not have the control and cannot try and exert control with this planning application which is strictly about the reserved matters."

The proposal was eventually moved for approval by Councillor Malcolm Prowse, with amendments including the inclusion of a travel plan for the school.

Cllr Prowse said: "Going on a site inspection is not going to stop development of the site. What we need to do is secure the best out of this.

"The only way to mitigate the impact is with a really robust travel plan and get children and parents to buy into it and the local community.

"Devon County Council are the highways authority and we are stick in the middle here. They made the £1.6million decision to build the school here - not us. I'm fed up of being squeezed on highways issues when it's not our fault."

As well as capacity for 420 pupils, the school will have a library, SEN facilities, a multi-use hall, kitchen and dining facilities. The new school will also provide a 39-place nursery.

The school will be operated by the Tarka Learning Partnership and is expected to have an initial (September 2020) intake of 60 reception year children in September 2020.