College land could be sold for Stratford School expansion

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The future expansion of Stratford School could now become a reality with news that advanced negotiations for the county council to buy an area of land at Stratford College are underway.

The sale, expected to be completed by the end of the year, seemingly kills off a contentious plan from the college to sell the land, a car park at the front of the site, to another party potentially to be developed into a hotel or housing.

Back in January Jane Price, chair of governors at Stratford School, described that proposal as ‘ill advised’ and pleaded for the college to defer any sale to allow a consultation into how the land could be best used for the educational needs of Stratford.

She added that increased housing in Stratford had placed greater pressure on Stratford School and that there was limited opportunity in increase its intake at its current site.

However things seem to be looking much more positive for the school now and providing the sale goes through, it is a win for the college too, with the money being used to support the ongoing £8.25million redevelopment of the Stratford campus.

A spokesperson for Stratford College said: “Following an open and competitive process to market the car park, governors approved the bid from Warwickshire County Council on behalf of Stratford High School subject to them carrying out their own surveys and confirming a firm price.

“Warwickshire County Council are working to a deadline of October 2020, which the College have agreed to extend until December 2020, to take account of any delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The College are awaiting final confirmation from WCC at the time of writing and providing that the final offer matches the offer approved by governors then we will be delighted to see our neighbours Stratford High School benefit from the acquisition on their behalf.”

News that the land is likely to be used by Stratford School was confirmed in Stratford District Council’s site allocations plan (SAP), debated by Cabinet members last week.

Although the SAP will still have to go through a public consultation process before it is adopted, a recent addition to the document outlines that the land at the college site should be safeguarded for the future expansion of Stratford School.

Stratford School is currently attended by just over 1,500 pupils and is rated as ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Headteacher Neil Wallace said: “Our understanding is that Warwickshire County Council and Stratford College are in discussions about the future of the College car park.

“We would welcome the prospect of the land being reserved for educational use in the future. Due to the growing reputation and increased popularity of the school, we are in separate discussions with the local authority about the potential future development of our site. These discussions are in their infancy at this stage.”