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Construction on new faith school begins in Hampton

Work on the St John Henry Newman Roman Catholic primary school and nursery has begun in Hampton.
Work has begun on St John Henry Newman Catholic Primary School in Hampton Water

Staff from Eco Modular Buildings (EMB) have commenced ground works and preparing foundations at the site in Aqua Drive, Hampton Water.

Plans for the school have been mired in controversy, with the council giving the go-ahead for construction in June after more than 135 objections to Peterborough Council's planning committee.

But work has now begun to build the school with modern and environmentally-friendly methods.

The project will see the school built off-site at EMB’s manufacturing facility in Hull, with modules then transported to the site in phases for installation and assembly.

This approach has benefits including decreased waste, a reduced period on-site and reduced site traffic, ensuring less disruption for local residents.

St John Henry Newman Roman Catholic Primary School and Nursery is due to open in September 2022, catering for 630 pupils and run by the Diocese of East Anglia.

Helen Bates from the Diocese said: “As the first brand-new Catholic school to be built in the country for more than 10 years, this is an important and exciting project for Catholic education nationally.

“St John Henry Newman will be a Catholic school serving its local community and we very much look forward to welcoming all children to our new school in September 2022.”

Lynne Ayres, Peterborough City Council's cabinet member for education, said: “Peterborough is one of the fastest-growing cities in the UK and we expect this trend to continue, so finding new school places is an urgent and ongoing challenge.

“This is a unique project and it’s fantastic to see construction underway.

"We're all looking forward to the school opening its doors to pupils next year. It is going to be a huge asset not just for Hampton, but for Peterborough as a whole, for years to come.”

The Diocese has organised two information events for parents thinking about sending their children to the school. These will be held on:

  • Monday, November 1, from 2-4pm at St Lukes Church, Benyon Grove.

  • Thursday, November 25, from 6-8pm at Hampton Vale Community Centre, Stewartby Avenue.

Prior to planning approval, concerns were raised about the proximity of the school to properties, the potential for traffic chaos during peak pick-up and drop-off times and the question of whether a faith school would cater to children in the catchment area.

Case officer Louise Simmonds said: “People have had concerns about the merits of putting a faith school of this kind in an area such as Hampton Water where open parkland living was promised.

“However, there is a great need for schools in the area and the new primary school will have combined nursery facilities and an associated outdoor sports activity area for up to 630 places.

“Residents have also complained about the proximity of the new school to their properties, but we can confirm that this application will offset the nearest residential property from the school by 46m and there will be a 30m landscaping buffer between the nearest house.

“Other complaints were in respect of vehicle movements along Aqua Drive which at the moment is a single track being developed.

“We all know that school drop-off and pick-up times cause enormous traffic issue potential, so we have deliberately built into the road and car park system a 30-vehicle drop-off and pick-up bay.

“This is far greater than many schools have, some in Peterborough having no drop-off and pick-up facilities at all for parents with children in vehicles.”