The title is ‘Bishopston Ward Primary School’ and it’s a report all about the city council’s plan to build a 210 place primary school on the site of the old City of Bristol College campus at Ashley Down on land given to the council as part of a planning agreement with the college.
Here’s how they describe the deal and it seems pretty good:
4. The Brunel College site, on which the new primary school is proposed, is currently a playing field and is in the ownership of the Bristol City College. As part of a Section 106 Agreement, between the City of Bristol College and Westbury Homes, the City Council is able to call upon the transfer of 0.9615 hectares of land after the occupation of the fiftieth dwelling provided the request is made within five years from completion. Additionally, the developer has been required to make a commitment to undertake improvements to the playing field and make a financial contribution of £374,000 towards the development of the new school.
That’s land and cash being offered for a new school. And the Cabinet were told in no uncertain terms about the need for such a school:
26.If the school were not be provided at the Brunel site there would continue to be an oversubscription of schools within the area with the result that some children will be forced to attend schools outside their community.
Fast forward two years and what do we find? This school build suddenly and inexplicably cancelled by current Labour education boss Peter Hammond last year at the last moment with no explanation and a brand new proposal to expand the hugely successful Sefton Park School – in the face of massive and sustained opposition – instead.
And the result? A huge delay and … Wait for it … A huge oversubscription of schools within the area with the result that some children will be forced to attend schools outside their community!
So why has Hammond cancelled this desperately needed new school? It’s certainly nothing to do with saving us money. The estimated cost of the 210 place school at Ashley Down was approximately £4m. That’s £2m less than the estimated cost of the Sefton Park expansion, the poorer solution anyway, which comes in at £6m.
It’s nice to know that the city council puts overflow car parking before the needs of the city’s children isn’t it ? Just like in Greenbank where car parking is more important than protected park land.
Is there a theme developing here?