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First chance to see Rocester school merger plan

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: March 14, 2014

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TAX-PAYERS are being given the chance to have their say on plans to merge two schools in a village neighbouring Uttoxeter.

Staffordshire County Council revealed last month that Ryecroft CE Middle School and Dove First School might move to a new site in Rocester.

The move would allow JCB further its expansion plans, which will create 2,500 jobs in the Uttoxeter area by 2018, by buying up Ryecroft’s site next to the digger giant’s World Headquarters.

And exhibitions will be run at Dove First School and Ryecroft from today to Friday, March 21, to give attendees details about the proposed new school site.

A display will be placed in both schools’ reception areas on weekdays between 9.30am and 3.30pm and will include ‘basic information about the site’s boundaries, access and building size’.

The county council’s plan is to create a single Church of England school to serve pupils from reception to Year Eight by September 2016.

It would sit on land currently owned by JCB on the outskirts of Rocester, off the Ashbourne Road and bordered by the B5030 to the west and Northfield Avenue to the east.

Any agreement would need the approval of the schools’ governing bodies and the Diocese of Lichfield.

Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, said: “This is a rare opportunity to provide first class facilities for the children of Rocester to ensure they have the best start in life and help a major Staffordshire employer expand.

“However, before we submit an outline planning application we want to hear what residents have to say as well.”

In December JCB announced plans to invest £150 million in Staffordshire, building new factories in Beamhurst and Cheadle.

The move will also see the expansion of operations at the Rocester World Headquarters and the transferral of JCB Finance and JCB Insurance to new premises at Harper Meadow, near Ryecroft Middle School.

Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council and the county councillor for the Rocester area, signalled the importance of the consultation.

He said: “I see this initial consultation as part of a commitment to keep residents fully informed at every stage of the process.”

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