PLANS to put another school near Brentwood town centre have been criticised.

Essex County Council is considering providing more primary school spaces in Brentwood by building a new school in Sawyers Hall Lane after funding was made available by the Department for Education.

Authority bosses say rising birth rates and proposed housing developments over the next three years is the driving force behind the move.

However, although no official plans have been submitted yet, the proposal has come under heavy fire from residents and councillors who have concerns over actual demand for spaces.

Worries have also been raised about congestion as three schools, Becket Keys, St Helen’s Infant and Junior and St Thomas of Canterbury Infant and Junior, already exist on the road.

Barry Aspinell, Lib Dem county councillor for Brentwood North, said more consultation should have been done before now.

He added: “It’s transpired that officers have applied for central government funding for additional primary school places in Brentwood without talking to or consulting me as the county councillor for the area.

“This lack of consultation has been blamed on Easter and Purdah, which ended on April 3 and May 3 respectively and yet it has taken questions from me on June 17 for them to highlight this situation to me.

“Those actions are deplorable and will be questioned most vigorously, as will the cabinet member for education on why elected representatives were not informed.”

Ray Gooding, county councillor responsible for education, said the authority has not yet confirmed plans as it waits to see if bids for funding have been successful.

He also said the process has been fast-moving, meaning there was not time for consultations.

Mr Gooding added: “Due to the tight timescales involved and the timing of the process, a consultation could not be conducted in advance of the bid being submitted.

“I would like to reiterate that the county council is considering options for the future use of the retained part of the former Sawyers Hall premises and conversion for a primary school could be one option.”