‘Half-hearted’ ideas over school expansion

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones addresses the public and Lincolnshire County Council officers during the public meeting over the future of Spalding Primary School.
Coun Roger Gambba-Jones addresses the public and Lincolnshire County Council officers during the public meeting over the future of Spalding Primary School.
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SUGGESTIONS to help reduce traffic issues around Spalding Primary School have been described as “half-hearted” by a nearby resident.

The reaction came as those living around Woolram Wygate came face-to-face with council officers leading plans to expand the school at a public meeting on Monday.

Lincolnshire County Council is proposing to increase the number of school places from 420 to 630 by building on the existing site, rather than build a whole new school as previously suggested.

However, a number of objections have been raised about the increase in traffic that it will bring to the estate – and residents have been looking for answers about how this will be addressed.

Proposals on Monday included overflow parking places and drop-off points, but these have not been included in the planning application.

Speaking after the meeting, Phil Scarlett, of Woolram Wygate, said: “We waited the best part of two months for this meeting. The suggestions were half-hearted. There is a level of frustration that we must be going through a consultation where no one at Lincolnshire County Council will listen to the residents.”

District ward councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, who helped to arrange the meeting, said he did not think anyone would be “swayed” by the arguments put forward.

He said: “There are a lot of people unhappy about the situation caused in the mornings and afternoons and to be fair to the county council officers and the police, they have said that on balance this was no different to any other school.

“However, that’s no comfort to the residents who suffer it every day.”

The plans, which were submitted this week, say the new building will provide an additional seven classrooms, upgrade two classes from temporary buildings, upgrade nursery provision, and make extra space for “supporting” facilities, such as a group room, library and ancillary spaces.

It will also improve staff facilities, provide a second school hall that could also serve the community, and increase parking for staff and visitors.

An additional one hectare of land has also been acquired nearby to provide a new playing field with school changing facilities, which will be included in a separate planning application.

Coun Gambba-Jones has now urged everyone to have their say through the formal planning consultation process.

He says the proposals to address parking issues which have not been included in the plans are likely to be brought before South Holland District Council, as it involves the authority’s land.

Coun Gambba-Jones added: “I hope the county council is cautious. There are some very serious concerns for the residents and at the end of the day, there is an alternative.

“Other schools do not have the opportunity to use another site close by to start again. In this particular case they do but they don’t have the money to do it with. However, that’s not a planning consideration.”