A NEW secondary school in Ingleby Barwick can now be built after planning was approved by The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The decision was recovered by the government after Stockton Borough Council refused permission for the new school and 350 houses on the site.

Ingleby Manor Free School and Sixth Form will be opening its doors to Year 7 students in September 2014 with the knowledge that they will be able to build their own purpose built school, which will include plans for 350 houses at Little Maltby Farm.

Stephen Fryer, chairman of Ingleby Manor Foundation Trust, said “This is fantastic news, not just for Ingleby Barwick’s young people but for the whole community. Parents applying for a place at Ingleby Manor Free School to start in September 2014 can now do so safe in the knowledge that planning permission for the school’s permanent site is now in place.”

And David Willard, principal designate for the school said “This is the news that we’ve been hoping for in recent months. It’s clear to me how much this school means to the community, and I’m both excited and honoured to be the first Head Teacher at this innovative and exciting new school.”

Local MP James Wharton, who has campaigned for a new school for seven years and backs the free school proposal, said: “This is brilliant news for Ingleby Barwick and means the biggest hurdle in the way of our new school has now been overcome. I hope this important investment can be delivered in good time to benefit parents and pupils."

However, Councillor Bob Cook, Leader at Stockton Borough Council, expressed his disappointment at the decision.

He said: ““We were never against the provision of new school places; but we do not believe this should be delivered at the cost of a swathe of new housing that will change the character of the area and infringe on green wedge land.”