SCHOOLS in Wiveliscombe could be expanded to accommodate more pupils after plans for 71 homes were given conditional approval.

Taunton Deane planners gave the green light to Lone Star Land's application last week, subject to the developers securing affordable housing and funding pupil expansion at Kingsmead School and Wiveliscombe Primary School.

Builders will also be asked to provide a children's play area and contributions towards improving community hall facilities.

Mark Griffin, head teacher at Kingsmead, said: “It always seemed likely that this development would be approved and of course the prospect of money to fund pupil expansion is good news.

“We welcome this and we have accepted that our school is going to grow.”

The homes could be built on agricultural land off Burges Lane to the north of the town.

An application was granted conditional approval in May but complications meant it stalled until Deane planners re-visited it last Wednesday (February 26).

The development will provide the town with additional housing, which has been identified for the development of up to 200 homes by 2028.

It comes at a time when Kingsmead is considering expanding its catchment area to accommodate students from part of West Somerset, if Somerset County Council decides to lower the age range at Dulverton Middle School.

The school was asked whether it would look into taking in these pupils and has been consulting widely.

Mr Griffin said: “We are delaying so we will know as much as we can before make the final decision.”

Town councillors had objected to the original proposals due to fears over pressure on school places.

Bryn Wilson, town council chairman, said this week: “We have no problem as we knew it would get approved to meet the 200 houses that Taunton Deane says we need.

“They just jumped the starting gun because the Burges Lane site is outside Wiveliscombe's town development boundary until the site allocation process is completed.”