A new primary school, retirement village, shopping centre, recreation facilities and 276 residential lots are on the plans for a Cambridge subdivision.
Ground work has started on the Cambridge Road site opposite Te Awa Lifecare.
The Ministry of Education has confirmed it has bought 4ha of land in the development for a primary school.
Katrina Casey, the ministry’s deputy secretary Sector Enabled and Support, said Cambridge’s growth had surpassed its expectations and she compared the town’s urban growth challenges to that of Hamilton.
Cambridge has been earmarked as a priority growth area through the ministry’s FutureProof Strategy.
By 2031 it estimates there will be an additional 400-600 primary and 500-1000 secondary school students in Cambridge.
Rural schools like Goodwood, Hautapu and Kaipaki had picked up some of the existing growth, but the pressure was still on the town schools, the ministry revealed in its Education Growth Plan.
There are already an additional 140 students at primary schools, 70 at intermediate and 270 at secondary school this year. Cambridge Middle School had already reached capacity.
The next Budget round is expected to grant more money for temporary and/or permanent accommodation.
Even the rural schools will need more capital to increase capacity.
There are two kōhanga reo and one kura up to year eight but no provision to support whanāu wanting wharekura schooling up to year 13.
Children eligible for specialist learning as part of the ministry’s Ongoing Resourcing Scheme currently have limited options, the report says. The new primary school would provide learning support space.
Growth at Cambridge High School can be accommodated at the existing site. “Property development at Cambridge High School, including in roll growth classrooms, is currently underway and further investment is likely,” said Ms Casey.
The subdivision application, made by 3Ms of Cambridge Ltd, is a non-complying activity under the council’s District Plan. The council received five submissions opposing the development when submissions closed on April 13.
According to Companies Office records, 3Ms of Cambridge directors are Michael Crawford, Mitchell Plaw, Matthew Smith and Philip Smith. The shareholders are Grantchester Farms Ltd of Cambridge and MKP Property Developments Ltd.
Independent commissioners will consider the five oppositions at a hearing starting later this month.