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Maidstone planning committee delays decision on Jubilee Primary School, in Fant Lane, after concerns were raised.

A primary school's planning application has been deferred after concerns were raised.

Members of Maidstone’s planning committee met on Thursday and spent almost two hours debating a proposal to permanently change the use of Gatland, in Fant, but could not reach a decision.

Jubilee Primary School has occupied the building since September but the education provider needs to secure approval to stay at the site in Fant Lane.

Headteacher Anne Allen outside the building in Fant Lane before it became Jubilee Primary School.
Headteacher Anne Allen outside the building in Fant Lane before it became Jubilee Primary School.

The property was previously occupied by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.

The Jubilee Church in Upper Stone Street, which launched the facility with an intake of 30 children, wants to extend the classrooms to offer 420 spaces by 2020.

Under government measures confirmed last year, state-funded free schools, run by teachers, parents or religious groups, can open in almost any building without the need for planning permission for up to a year.

Jubilee Primary School opened in September 2014
Jubilee Primary School opened in September 2014

At last week’s meeting at Maidstone Town Hall, councillors expressed concerns about the proposal, including potential traffic problems, the suitability of the site and whether there’s a need for a primary school in the area.

Cllr Stephen Paine (Con) said: "I've been approached by a number of parents who live in the area and have expressed an interest in it, but that does not rule out the dozens of people who have said they're not interested.

"I don't doubt the quality of the curriculum that's been put forward, the faith ethos of the leadership, and actually some of the plans they plan to deliver are quite inspirational and are the sort of thing you would want from a local school, but I am concerned about the impact on residents and I do think we need to take account of that."

Members requested more information about the factors before a ruling is made.

When the application was submitted last year, a spokesman for the Education Funding Agency, which supports all state-funded schools, said it recognised the concerns about the possible impact on traffic and insisted it was keen to work with the community to minimise the disturbance.

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