PLANS to expand a school for pupils with special educational needs in Andover is one step closer.

As previously reported, Hampshire County Council plan on increasing the capacity at Icknield School.

Plans are now one step closer after a senior councillor approved the beginning of a formal consultation period.

Public notices will now be displayed, with a four-week consultation period taking place.

It was approved by Cllr Roz Chadd, HCC's executive member for education and skills, at a decision day on Wednesday, January 13.

Cllr Chadd said: “I am very happy to support the recommendations that we proceed to Public Notices for these developments, which will increase provision of much needed specialist school places for children and young people.

“The County Council is committed to further developing existing successful provision or creating new provision to meet demand for places for children and young people with special education needs.”

The plans to expand the provision and Icknield, as well as Samuel Cody Specialists Sports College in Farnborough, came after data revealed that the number of children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs) in Hampshire has increased by 87 per cent since 2015-16.

Pupils with EHCPs are classed as the most vulnerable, and are entitled to attend school in person whilst most other pupils are learning from home during lockdown.

Plans were drawn up to "significantly improve and remodel the internal spaces and provide a small extension" to Icknield, located on River Way.

It will provide 10 additional places taking the maximum number of pupils from 78 to 88.

During the consultation, one resident replied.

Whilst generally positive, the neighbour raised concerns regarding extra parking.

However, HCC do not intend to increase parking as part of the plans, saying that the three extra staff members required can be accommodated on site.

Following approval, the expansion in places will be available from September 2022.