Expensive, wrong and much too late
For the last 10 years everyone has known there were going to be a lot of new houses built in Rushcliffe, so why has it taken until now for the County Council to publish a study on the siting of a new secondary school? The current administration’s lack of forward planning has led to children in our area suffering the upset of not getting their expected school place with their friends this year. know how painful this has been for families this year. The council have been asleep on the job, and they have admitted as much this week.
Since last May the Council have spent £445,000 on this study and they plan to spend nearly £2 million in total on reports and planning before they even turn of clod of earth. You can read what you got for this eye watering amount of money here. Not much in my opinion, particularly when you consider that the report did not involve any consultation with residents, parents or community representatives, and as I understand it, minimal consultation even with schools. I strongly believe that councils should be making decisions with residents, not for residents.
And what a plan! It would put a large secondary school at the corner of its catchment area, next to a busy arterial route into the city and on the flood plain. It would massively increase traffic flows as some parents would understandably be nervous of their children walking so far – a school should be located at the centre of its catchment area. What’s more, there is now overwhelming evidence that traffic fumes are dangerous to health: do we really want our children walking to school along the A52? And how sustainable is it to build on a flood plain? We must prioritise the environment in all decisions.
The Council apparently considered other sites for the secondary school as shown here. Since a new estate is planned east of Gamston the argument about not building a bridge of the A52 seems to be typical short-termism. A School to the South of the area would be much nearer the new houses.
Part of the proposed plan also involves relocating Lady Bay School to Regatta Way. Again there is no evidence that the impact on the environment has been consider at all: not many parents are going to let their child walk home from the new primary school to the Lady Bay area, increasing traffic and depriving the children valuable life skills and experience gained from walking with friends. I realise that the current buildings are outdated and not environmentally sustainable, but the Lady Bay community have already come up with more imaginative (and I’m told cheaper) suggestions than ‘shut it down’.
My children went to Lady Bay and then Rushcliffe Schools and I know how much they gained from walking to our excellent local schools with their community of friends. I want this for every child.