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Public consultation over moves for a primary in north of town
RESIDENTS had the chance to study four prospective sites for a new primary school in North Swindon yesterday.
Swindon Council needs to create 90 extra reception places in the area from September next year.
The council overall has enough places across the borough if the places are not provided, but council policy is to provide places in the community where there is demand.
The council has identified Orchid Vale Primary School for a permanent expansion of 30 reception places.
They initially proposed to create the remaining 60 places by building a new school on a site within the boundary of Mouldon Hill Country Park, with the use of the country park car park as an access point.
Shortly after the start of the public consultation on the proposal, Swindon Council decided to expand the consultation to also seek views on four more possible sites in North Swindon.
The other sites are another field nearer to the main entrance within Mouldon Hill Country Park, land in Redhouse Village Centre which was originally earmarked for a pub, green space alongside Clary Road; and opening a school earlier than planned at the allocated school site on the Tadpole Farm development.
Gareth Cheal, the education place planning manager with Swindon Council, said: “We’ve been running this consultation since January and we held the first consultation in Taw Hill.
“But we got feedback that it was not accessible to people this side of Thamesdown Drive, so have held this consultation.
“If we don’t decide on a location we face a catastrophe because we will have a significant shortage of school places in this area.
“We want as many people to give us their opinion on the sites, but it will be a tough job for the cabinet to decide.”
Councillors Vera Tomlinson and Mary Friend were on hand at the meeting to give their advice to residents and take on board any concerns they had.
Coun Tomlinson (Con, St Andrews) said: “All these sites are not 100 per cent, we have just got to get the one that is best for most people.
“This is a very difficult situation and for many young parents education is their main priority.
“We have been out leafleting giving the pros and cons of both sites and have already had 400 responses.
“We would urge as many people to give their views on this to make sure the right decision.”
For more information on the proposals visit www.swindon.gov.uk/northswindonprimary.
The deadline for the consultation has been extended to March 8.