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New plans for bilingual free school in Hove Park revealed
New plans to move a bilingual free school from Falmer to a site next to Hove Park in have been revealed.
The original proposals by developer Kier to move the Bilingual Primary School from its temporary home were withdrawn last September. Residents had complained about increased traffic and the visual impact of the building, which would be between the miniature railway and the Engineerium.
The amended plans were displayed at a public exhibition at Hove Rugby Football Club on Monday.
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Bilingual Primary School deputy head Laura O’Grady said: “I think it’s good to clarify misconceptions and to give the community an opportunity to speak to the planners so they can see how they’ve responded to the concerns.”
Jayne Lewis, 66, of Goldstone Crescent, said: “All they've done is reduce it from three storeys to two, which is what developers do. They put in plans for a great big thing, it gets rejected, then they reduce it so everyone thinks ‘Oh great, they’ve made it smaller’.”
The Brighton and Hove Society of Miniature Locomotive Engineers, which maintains the Hove Park miniature railway, was against the previous plans. But society member John Lynn, 66, of Sunninghill Avenue, said Kier had taken care of their original concerns about pedestrian access across their site.
He said: “It was going to be a shortcut for kids and parents, which would have affected our ability to operate, but they've done away with that.”
Bilingual Primary School opened in 2012 and is temporarily based at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, with 140 pupils aged four to seven years old. If the new site gets the go-ahead, that could rise to 630 pupils by 2023. All lessons except maths and literacy are taught in Spanish.
Results for both subjects at the early years foundation stage are well above the national average.
Personal trainer Emma Harwood, 35, of Osborne Villas, said: “I have a friend whose son goes there and she raves about it. If these plans go ahead it will influence where we move to. We’re willing to travel so our daughter can go there.”
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