A plan to build a school for children with special educational needs and disabilities has been approved by councillors.

Salmon’s Brook School, in Bell Lane, Enfield, will provide 70 places for children aged 11 to 18 with social, emotional and mental health needs.

Enfield currently only has one school with 44 places catering for pupils with these needs, which is not enough to meet demand.

The new single-storey school will be built on Bell Lane Playing Fields. Although this is currently an area of open land, a council report says it was the “only available and suitable site for the proposed development”.

An outdoor multi-use games area will be provided at the rear of the school.

At a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday (September 1), planning officer David Gittens said: “The proposal forms part of a strategy by the council’s education department to gain more capacity and continuity for (pupils with social emotional and mental health needs) and support transitions into provision post-16, which would include a full educational programme up to the age of 18 to 19.

“The proposal provides expert support both in terms of full-time placement, part-time assessment placements, as well as a comprehensive outreach programme to support inclusion in the borough’s mainstream schools.”

Cllr Mike Rye (Conservative, Town) said he regretted the loss of open space, but this consideration was outweighed by the need for this type of school.

Cllr Rye raised concerns over the number of road accidents recorded near the site. In response, Enfield Council’s transport chief Dominic Millen said the council would look to improve walking and cycling provision to reduce the likelihood of further incidents.

To compensate for the loss of the open space caused by the construction of the school, improvements will be made to other areas of open space in the local area.

Following the debate, the application was unanimously approved by members of the committee.