Plans to increase the number of places at Lonsdale School in Stevenage are a step closer, after plans to formally close its residential facilities were backed by councillors.

The special school in Brittain Way currently offers 112 places for students aged three to 18 with physical and neurological impairments. 

It also includes a 26-bed residential facility, however this has not been fully operational since March 2020.

Now, education officials have drawn-up plans to close the residential facility and increase the number of places available from 112 to 132.

On Monday, February 12, Hertfordshire County Council’s cabinet will determine whether or not to publish a statutory notice to enlarge the school and to close the residential offer.

On Monday this week (February 5) the plans were backed by a meeting of the council’s education, libraries and lifelong learning cabinet panel.

The meeting heard that the demand for special school places has grown significantly, outstripping demand.

Without the additional places, pupils with physical and neurological impairments would have to be placed in independent specialist placements out of the county, councillors heard.

It was reported that providing additional places at Lonsdale could save the council as much as £1.368 a year.

The council has already consulted on the plans. Of the 53 responses received, 36 - 67.9 per cent – disagreed.

The response from the governing body, it was reported, had noted that the residential provision has previously been a success.

But it also acknowledged that financial and operational challenges meant that it was not currently viable.


If the meeting of the cabinet back the plans on Monday, a statutory notice period will begin on February 26 and run until March 24.

If no objections are received council officers will then be able to take the decision on April 19.

If one or more objections are received in response to the notice, the final decision will be taken by a further meeting of the cabinet on May 13.