PROPOSALS for a new 75-pupil school which will cater for children with complex autism have been unveiled.

Essex County Council wants planning permission to build the new facility off Conrad Road, in Witham.

The new school would be split into 15 classes and is expected to employ about 120 staff to ensure each pupil can be taught on a one-to-one basis.

Initial estimates suggest the school will cost £8 million to design and build, and it will be managed by the Market Field Learning Community in Elmstead Market.

Council bosses say the new facility will be open to children across Essex aged between four and 19 who suffer with severe autism.

A 115-space car park will be built alongside the school, with space provided for a mini bus and a drop-off area.

County Hall accepts the proposals will lead to an increase in traffic in the area, particularly as New Rickstones Academy, which is nearby, has more than 800 students and 120 members of staff.

But bosses have downplayed the impact it will have on the surrounding roads and insist the need for the facility is a key reason why permission should be granted.

Their planning statements says: “The proposal will create a much needed special educational needs and disabilities school for Essex, increasing the number of places available.

“The location of the school has been identified as the preferred location as it is central to the county of Essex and has good transport links for pupils travelling from across mid and north Essex.

“Whilst the development is expected to generate an increased number of vehicle movements during the peak drop-off and pick-up periods, it is considered that these will take place over a short period of time, therefore the resulting impact on the local highway network is restricted to a 15 to 30-minute period in the morning and afternoons.

“The additional traffic is unlikely to result in a significant negative impact upon the local highway network in terms of capacity of safety.”

The new school will be named after former Market Field School student Brad Chatten.

Brad, who has autism, learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, was a student at the special school, in Elmstead Market, for six years.

However, when he reached 16, was forced to move to a residential school in Rutland, 125 miles away from home, because there were no suitable post-16 school places any nearer to where the teenager lived.