COUNCILLORS have given the green light to a new 1,500-pupil school in the centre of Bournemouth, despite a warning it could end efforts to make part of Lansdowne car-free.

Members of BCP Council’s planning committee briefly considered deferring a decision – a month after police safeguarding fears prompted a similar move – for the Livingstone Academy.

But they were dissuaded by planning officers who said the issues at the former police station site in Madeira and Stafford roads were outweighed by the "great benefits" of the new school.

Aspirations Academies Trust, which runs 15 other schools across the south of England, started working on its plans for a new all-through school in 2017.

Its proposals involve the demolition of the former police station buildings to make way for the new secondary school building with court buildings remodelled into the primary school and sixth form.

Speaking at Thursday's planning committee meeting, Raj Lall, the trust’s director of estates, said: “The town centre is not served by any other school and we believe there’s a need for school places in Bournemouth which will become clear very soon."

A decision was due to be made last month but police safeguarding concerns – with the school being opposite the new probation centre – meant it was deferred.

In the following weeks new measures were agreed to allay fears.

On Thursday the application returned to the committee with planning officers again recommending that it be approved.

However, Bournemouth Central ward councillor, and former Bournemouth council cabinet member, Mike Greene urged it to be deferred again.

He said he welcomed new school provision in the area but said the traffic it would create would make multi-million pound plans for the Lansdowne area impossible to implement.

“All of it comes down to the desire to make Holdenhurst Road work much better and to make it effectively car-free,” he said.

“This may seem a long way away from the school but the modelling we had done in Bournemouth council showed that we are already touch-and-go as to whether the amount of traffic in the Lansdowne will allow that project to take place.

“If this application is approved it will tip this over the edge and the opportunity to transform the Lansdowne will have gone.”

For two hours committee members considered the traffic implications of the new school, including its "significant" shortfall in both staff parking spaces and bicycle storage facilities.

Councillor David Kelsey proposed a decision be deferred again but withdrew the move after being told by planning officers that national planning policy required them to give “great weight” to the benefit of new school places.

The committee then agreed to grant planning permission.

Speaking after the meeting, Caroline Barringer, trust director of central administration, said they were "delighted" with the decision.

"After such a long delay we are eager to get started on the building works so we can have the academy open and ready to take reception and Year 7 students in September 2021," she said.

"This is such an exciting project and we are really looking forward to working with local parents and other stakeholders in the community."