THE first plans to increase school capacities in and around St Ives to cope with the town’s expansion have been revealed.

Cambridgeshire County Council announced last month that it was spending £19million on increasing school capacities in St Ives to meet growing demand from the new developments in the town, and Thorndown Primary School was first to apply for planning permission for a complete overhaul.

Contractors Kier and Atkins have revealed £9.5m plans to knock down the single-storey junior school and replace it with a two-storey 18 classroom building, single-storey changing rooms and a minibus garage.

The new building would increase pupils numbers to 630 - a rise of 50 per cent.

The plans also include a new hard-court playing area and netball court and would increase car parking spaces to 76, from 20, and cycle parking to 120 spaces from 18.

After the rebuilding is complete, the school's three mobile classrooms will be removed.

The developer has said that to accommodate the extra car parking spaces, the school building will be set back further into the grounds, cutting the amount of open space at the rear of the classrooms. However, they added that the new designs would not affect the school's playing fields.

Thorndown Primary School was singled out as the "most challenging" project by the county's education officer, Ian Trafford.

Mr Trafford added that the 295 houses built in St Ives between 2001 and 2010, as well as commitments to build 600 further homes by 2017 and potentially another 615 by 2021, necessitated the increase in capacity.

As part of the county's £19m scheme Eastfield Infant School will receive £2.3m, a further £2m is for improvements to Westfield Junior School and a £2.7m scheme at Wheatfields Primary School will replace the pre-school and St Ives Children's Centre mobile classrooms.

There is also £2.5m earmarked for the replacement of pre-school accommodation at Hemingford Grey Primary.