THE Orsett Heath Academy is set to get a new school building.

The school will have a three-storey teaching block, a two-storey sports hall and a single-storey activity studio on land near Blackshots Stadium on either side of Stanford Road, Grays.

The development on a site currently occupied by Thurrock Rugby Club’s junior pitches, will cater for 1,200 pupils and 100 staff.

Councillors almost unanimously backed the controversial scheme, despite fears over traffic, in order to alleviate a growing need for secondary school places in the borough.

Speaking after the meeting Mike Fletcher, Labour councillor for Belhus ward, said: “Basically there was concern over the fact we are putting a large school astride a fairly busy main road. Highways kept coming back to road management, but it wasn’t traffic management, it was safety that concerned us.

“There is a bridge and they are putting in another crossing so it’s not a disaster waiting to happen, it was just a concern for a few of us there ought to be more recognition about road safety.”

Mr Fletcher, who voted against the application, added: “The point being made by the Tories and councillor Holland who did a lot of hard work to get the school up and running was that there wasn’t anywhere else to put it.

“We have kids going to school outside the borough which isn’t right and we need to build more homes so we need another large school, but is that in itself enough reason to put a school either side of a main road?”

Thames Park School which will also deal with the admission growth, is currently under construction.

Orsett Heath Academy was granted permission to operate from the Thurrock Rugby Club site in February 2019 and the school opened in temporary accommodation in September last year.

It is run by the South West Essex Community Education Trust, which also runs the William Edwards School.

A report to Thurrock Council’s planning committee said there was “a pressing need to relocate existing teachers and pupils out of the temporary location into a purpose built and suitable teaching environment”.