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Residents air views over plan to build school on Swindon parkland
RESIDENTS gave their views on plans to build a new primary school within Mouldon Hill Country Park during a public drop-in meeting yesterday.
Swindon Council needs to create 90 reception extra places in North Swindon from September 2014.
The council has enough places across the borough without the extra, but council policy is to provide places in the community where there is demand.
It has identified Orchid Vale Primary School for a permanent expansion of 30 reception places and proposes to provide the remaining 60 places by building a new school on a site within the boundary of Mouldon Hill Country Park.
The use of the country park’s car park will be an access point.
Residents learned more about the proposals and shared their opinions at the consultation at the Tawny Owl Pub, in Taw Hill.
People can also complete an online consultation.
Sarah Jackson, a mother-of-two, of Oakhurst, said: “I think having a school is a really good idea because I hear from parents who have got children of school age that some of them are having to send their kids further away to primary school.
“The key thing is location. I have no problem with it being within the country park but what I would want to know is whether it can be made safe for children to walk to school, because Thamesdown Drive is a very busy route. But in general I’m in favour.”
And Mike Smith, a grandfather of six, of Redhouse, said: “I’m a little bit worried about the idea because that area is at risk of flooding. Also, how much would it cost the council to do all the work associated with the school?
“But I suppose if the school places are running out and this is the only option then it has to go there.”
Swindon Council says the consultation is needed as there are no viable alternatives.
The council says the land in the country park is poorly used and inaccessible for recreational purposes, potentially making it a viable school site. But there are a number of issues, including access off the dual carriageway and across a railway line, the need to bridge a floodplain and to re-route power lines.
Commenting on the consultation, Coun David Renard, the cabinet member for children services, said: “We are very keen for as many people take part as possible.”
For more information visit www.swindon.gov.uk/north swindonprimary or complete the survey at www.surveymonkey.
com/s/R2DS6BL by February 22.
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