Southend Council will discuss plans next week to determine where the new Free School will be sited.

The development is a part of council’s ongoing secondary school expansion scheme and the preferred site is land adjacent to St Laurence Park, along Eastwoodbury Lane.

The secondary school is envisioned to become a Stem school which will provide education in science, technology, engineering, and maths. It will also provide more than 300 school places over the course of the next two years.

Councillor James Courtenay, responsible for children and learning, said: “While we are working hard to meet expansion requirements for September 2018 through our ongoing work with current schools. As already stated we need to open a new free school in the borough by September 2019 to provide enough secondary school places for local children and meet our statutory obligations.

“This will be funded through a bid by a proven academy trust to the Department for Education, with the council’s support.

“I am excited to say that the academy trust envisages this being a science, technology, engineering and manufacturing school, which will enhance what we can currently offer in the borough, expand parental choice and open up innovative and important links with the nearby airport, and Airport Business Park, which is under construction.”

However, Conservative councillor Steve Buckley, of the St Laurence ward, said the St Laurence site is not ideal for the development.

He said: “I do agree Southend needs to have more secondary schools to accommodate to the rising number of primary school students.

“But I’m concerned the infrastructure can’t support the extra amount of traffic coming into the area. We already have busy traffic on the roads because of the airport and the business park.

“My fellow ward members did a letter drop to residents near the site and they’re worried about traffic, roads getting gridlocked and parking problems.”