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Call for Idle school plans re-think
Pupils, parents and neighbours have unwittingly been placed “at the centre of a perfect storm” by a proposal to expand a primary school, according to councillors.
A decision about Thackley Primary School was delayed last month because planning councillors wanted more information, particularly about parking.
Idle and Thackley ward councillors have since approached 200 neighbours who they say experience the “inconsiderate and sometimes dangerous behaviour” of some drivers.
They have written a survey for councillors to consider, which concludes that the expansion should not go ahead until road improvement plans have been thrashed out. The survey says it was requested in response to one planning application, but urges that three others in the pipeline – the doubling of Idle Church of England First School, housing on the former Thackley Grange site and an extra care home at Ellar Carr Road – should also be considered.
It says: “Individually each of these plans is a challenge. Collectively they represent a significant opportunity for improving the local area which will be missed if a proper localised development plan is not produced.”
Idle and Thackley Councillor Jeanette Sunderland said: “There’s a whole raft of problems we could practically solve if we get our thinking caps on.” Meanwhile the school has revised its transport plan, which will also be considered by councillors at the end of March.
The school, in Town Lane, wants to build an extension and make changes to parking, footpaths and the playground to meet demand.
The plans would include four new classrooms to allow an extra 90 pupils. There would be 29 off road parking spaces, compared to 10 now - but councillors say policy suggests there should be 41 spaces.
A school statement said: “We carried out a pupil, parent and staff travel survey in January, which shows that since the last survey there has been a significant increase of almost ten per cent in the number of children who walk to school.”
A planning report, by council officers, said: “The enlargement of this school is likely to result in increased traffic and general disturbance to local residents at school opening and closing times, however the level of harm that occurs is unlikely to significantly increase above the current level of disturbance.”
Eleven formal objections have been lodged against the plans.
Tony Ejsymontt of Town Lane, Thackley, said: “We drive straight on to Town Lane. We do have problems with people parking all day.”
He said the road could be dangerous with people from different schools clambering for spaces. He has lodged an objection.