PLANS for a special needs unit at an East Lancashire school have raised concerns about traffic congestion and parking problems.

The proposal for new provision for up to 16 children at Barrowford Primary is out to consultation.

It is part of Lancashire County Council’s plans to create 24 of the units, split equally across the primary and secondary sectors.

Another is proposed for St Leonard’s Church of England Primary School in Padiham.

The Barrowford scheme has alarmed nearby residents and local ward Independent Cllr Ken Turner.

They are concerned that the new SEN unit will create extra traffic and congestion on Rushton Street where the school is located.

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “We have identified a need for more school places for children with special educational needs in the Nelson and Colne area, and are currently holding a six-week consultation on the proposal for a unit with places for up to 16 children to be established at Barrowford Primary School from September 2021.

“There is evidence to show that the specialist knowledge of staff working with children in an SEN unit leads to better quality of teaching for all pupils throughout the school, and we have a duty to make sure there is specialist support and enough special school places for all children with special educational needs.”

One nearby resident told the Lancashire Telegraph: “The school is attended by increasing numbers of children from out of Barrowford - traffic is a nightmare outside our homes each day and it will only get worse if these additional children come from out of area. The school used to be the heart of our village and this new unit will mean more local parents choose to send their children elsewhere.”

Barrowford’s Cllr Turner said: “I am all in favour of proper provision for children with special education needs.

“But I am concerned about the highway implications. Presumably the children will need to be brought to the school by parents or in taxis.

“This could cause traffic, parking and highway safety problems on Rushton Street which is narrow. I will be seeking assurances on this issue.”

Consultation views must be received by January 22