A CONSULTATION has been launched to seek views on proposals to meet the demand for extra school places in the St Ives area.

Between 2001 and 2010 a total of 295 new houses were built in St Ives, while planning permission has been granted for a further 600 to be completed between now and 2017.

New housing development sites to the west of the town and sites allocated in Huntingdonshire District Council's local plan are expected to result in a further 615 new homes being built between 2016 and 2021.

Education officers at Cambridgeshire County Council are therefore starting to plan the services required to meet the needs of the extra children likely to be generated by the new housing. This will include primary school provision and related children's services, a spokesman said.

The consultation sets out various options for the existing schools which currently serve the St Ives area - Eastfield Infant and Nursery School, Westfield Junior School, Thorndown Primary School, Wheatfields Primary School and Hemingford Grey Primary School.

The consultation will include a series of public meetings on March 12 at Thorndown Primary School (3pm-8pm), March 13 at Eastfields Infant and Nursery School (3.15pm-8pm), March 14 at the Children's Centre, Wheatfields Primary School (2pm-6pm) and on March 21 at Hemingford Grey Primary School (3pm-8pm).

County councillors will consider the feedback from the consultation, and the council's cabinet is due to make a decision on June 12.

Cllr David Harty, cabinet member for learning, said: "Wherever possible, it should be the schools in whose catchment area the new housing development and growing demand is taking place that should increase in size to meet the extra need."

INFORMATION: Parents, staff, school governors and others can comment on the proposals, which can be found on the county council's website: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/education/schools/planning/Educational+Provision+in+St+Ives.htm. Comments, which must be received by Friday May 4, can be sent to assistant education officer Alison Cook at CC1209, Castle Court, Castle Hill, Cambridge CB3 0AP or by e-mail to Alison.cook@cambridgeshire.gov.uk