PLANS to build a new school on the edge of Witham will provide an opportunity to enforce tougher speeding restrictions along a busy road, it has been claimed.

Witham North county councillor James Abbott says he wants to see measures put in place along Rickstones Road when the new Chatten Free School is built.

The new facility will provide up to 75 places for children with severe and complex autism and Essex County Council hopes it will ease the strain on other special educational needs schools around Essex.

Bosses are planning to build the new facility on land next to New Rickstones Academy, which has more than 800 students and 120 members of staff.

Education bosses have played down concerns about increased volumes of traffic being brought in to the area by the school, but Mr Abbott (Green) says the issue of speeding should still be addressed before the facility opens.

In his response to the plans, he said: “Traffic surveys show average speeds along Rickstones Road are too high and are significantly above the 30 miles per hour limit.

“Despite my requests, Essex County Council has rejected measures for traffic calming and improving the safety of crossing Rickstones Road on foot.

“The SEND application should be used as an opportunity to see what can be done to lower traffic speeds and improve pedestrian access.

“This would in particular help with safety for vehicles entering and leaving the school via the proposed access.”

Rivenhall Parish Council has also called for greater restrictions to be implemented in the road when the new school is built.

The Chatten Free School will 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, with funding coming from the Department for Education.

Once built, it will be managed by the Market Field Learning Community, which is based in Elmstead Market, and is named after a former pupil, Brad Chatten.

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.