Sleeping snakes and lizards stall Beck Row classroom plan

The plan is to convert Beck Row's existing Community Centre into  two classrooms
The plan is to convert Beck Row's existing Community Centre into two classrooms
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Governors of Beck Row Primary School have warned it may not be able to take extra pupils this year as planned thanks to lizards and snakes.

To take on more pupils it needs the community centre in the school grounds to be converted into two more classrooms, but a plan to build a new community centre on the edge of the Aspal Close local nature reserve has stalled until the common lizards and grass snakes living there come out of hibernation and can be moved.

Elevations of the proposed Aspal Close LNR visitor centre ANL-151216-110444001

Elevations of the proposed Aspal Close LNR visitor centre ANL-151216-110444001

A joint statement from the governors and Beck Row Community Association explains: “Originally the Community Association had agreed to move out in the spring to allow work to commence. Because of the delay this will not now be possible and the admission of any extra children may have to be deferred.

“There is no intention to alter or add to the external structure of the school and normal planning rules will apply.

“Ultimately both the School and the Association will reap enormous benefits from the project.”

Suffolk County Council had applied for planning permission for using the 289sq m centre site in the nature reserve on St John’s Street for a new centre while giving the reserve the 15,500sq m Homestead site it owns to the north of it.

That application was withdrawn on January 4 pending a further ecological survey of the site.

See the plans at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/planning as application DC/15/2408/CR3. The idea for a community centre on the school site goes back to the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 when the school was the focus of the village’s celebrations because the existing centre was too small.

After many fund raising efforts it was agreed to work with Suffolk County Council to provide a much-needed school assembly hall for shared use with the community, as well as a smaller Community Centre, with a kitchen toilets and a car park.