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Second school for Kings Hill

MORE places for primary school children in Kings Hill, near West Malling should be available by next September, after county councillors approved plans for a second school in the development.

But many people feel that the new school will be built too far away from the homes that have already been built. They fear it will lead to an increase in traffic and that families already living there will be at a disadvantage once more homes are built nearer the new school.

Cllr Trudy Dean, (Lib Dem, Malling Rural Central) told members of the planning applications committee, at County Hall: "This school has got to be in place by September next year. Many of the objections are not on principle but are saying, 'Is this really the best we can do, can we not get the plans somewhat improved'."

Kings Hill Parish Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council both criticised the site of the new school, at the former tree nursery, off Discovery Drive.

In its statement, the parish council said: "Members felt that the location of the new school would give priority to the most recent residents rather than established residents."

The existing primary school, in Crispin Way, is already oversubscribed, while developers Rouse Kent are planning to build more homes at the eastern end of the development.

Borough councillors asked the county council if it could not agree with Rouse Kent on a more central site for the new school.

But Jerry Crossley, KCC's principal planning officer, told the committee in his report: "The school is intended to chiefly serve the newer areas of housing development on the eastern side of Kings Hill, most of which has yet to be built."

He added: "If Kings Hill was only ever to have two primary schools, which is entirely possible, I can see little logic in them both being sited at the western end of the site."

KCC will build the new school in phases, aiming to open four classrooms by the beginning of the next school year.

The school will provide 210 places by 2005 and double that amount in the long term.

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