Government steps in over Free School

editorial image

Bedford Free School has been granted planning permission by the government, despite it being rejected twice by 
Bedford Borough Council.

Planning bosses at Borough Hall have had their earlier 
decision overturned by the government, and the school which opened in September can continue in Cauldwell Street.

Ian Pryce, the chair of governors at the school who is also CEO of Bedford College which project-managed the school, said: “This has been a lengthy and difficult process for everyone. We all want the same thing – better educated young people, we just differ on how to achieve that.

“Our research showed this was a school the community wanted and our first year intake reflected that. There were legitimate questions to be asked about the effect of the school on local traffic but changes in college activity meant there are now fewer people moving across Cauldwell Street.

He added: “I am sure 
everyone will now move on and our job is to establish the Free School as an important part of the Bedford family of schools.”

Bedford Free School is a secondary school for students aged 11-16. It opened in September without planning permission after council chiefs expressed concerns about road safety.

A spokesman for Bedford Borough Council said: “The Free School has been granted by planning permission by the Secretary of State.

“This overrules the decision taken locally.”

Email your views to