Saturday, May 18, 2024

High school in Beachlands dependent on residential developments

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Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, far right, with, from left, Angela Fulljames, Malcolm Bell and Angela Mason. Photo supplied

The Ministry of Education has determined that a future high school in Beachlands may be solely dependent on a large-scale residential development.

Beachlands resident Angela Mason, Franklin Local Board members Malcolm Bell and Angela Fulljames, and Labour List Papakura MP Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki presented a petition to parliament on June 3 asking the Ministry of Education (MoE) to build a secondary school in the Pohutukawa Coast (Times, July 13).

Mason had been leading the charge for the new school for several years. The petition has around 3600 signatures.

In the released government response, the MoE analysed that a secondary school at Beachlands would have a healthy starting roll given the already available student base.

However, this projected growth for the Beachlands and Maraetai areas could be managed for a number of years by Howick College reducing its out-of-zone enrolments. In the short-term, existing schools are capable of accommodating secondary growth in the Coast.

“After 2025, additional capacity would be required at Howick College,” MoE said.

Formosa Golf Course, MoE says, could potentially be developed into residential housing through the recent purchase of the land by NZ Superfund. This development and additional ones in Clevedon “may trigger the need for a new secondary school in the future”.

These expansions could have a sufficient amount of secondary age students to support a new school – with 3000 additional dwellings at Formosa generating 550 students and the 1500 dwellings in Clevedon potentially delivering 300 students.

The MoE predicts, if these events were to occur, a new school would be needed around 2030, and “sooner if additional capacity is not delivered at Howick College”.

The MoE is investigating the need for a new primary and secondary school in Beachlands, but it is contingent on the large-scale residential development going ahead.

“NZ Superfund has allocated space in their structure plan for both types of schools,” MoE said.

The MoE will monitor the Private Plan Change which must be considered by Auckland Council to give the green light for the residential housing.

In terms of the transport issues highlighted in the petition (students travelling long distances, unsafe roads) the MoE acknowledged that they provided free bus services, “comparable to other services around the country”.

In the report’s conclusion, the MoE said the government recognises the potential for a future secondary school on the coast however its construction relied heavily on the developments of the potential residential housing in Formosa.

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