New Primary School

David Whipp
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New Primary School

Post by David Whipp » 25 Oct 2012, 06:06

The county council has submitted a planning application for the proposed new primary school next to the High School.

The plans can be viewed on the planning section of Pendle Council's website.

Although both Barnoldswick Town Council and the borough council will comment on the plans, the decisions on the planning application will be made by a committee of the county council itself.

The proposed new school will be accommodate twice as many pupils as the existing school on York Street. This is because the number of primary age pupils in the area is growing and soon there won't be enough space in the existing schools. (When campaigning against closure of Rainhall Road Primary School a decade ago, I did point out that pupil numbers went up as well as down, but the powers that be poo poohed our points...)

Folk in Earby aren't too happy that the new places are being provided in Barlick, as most of the initial growth in numbers is in the Earby area, meaning it's likely that kids will have to be bussed over to Barlick instead of going to school on their doorstep (a big deal when you're just 5!).

Salterforth is unhappy that any future downturn in numbers could see their small village school under threat.

BUT, the county has decreed that we should get a two form entry school next to the High School and now we're debating the detail.

I'm fully in favour of a new school to replace Barnoldswick's crumbling church school on York Street. The existing building is very cramped. I'd argue that it's the worst remaining old school building in Pendle.

(I recall campaigning to get Alder Hill and Springfield schools replaced in Earby during the 1980's. Both buildings were in appalling condition with water dripping from ceilings and walls. Sadly, at the time, such conditions were commonplace in the school building stock and replacement was a long way down the priority list. When my lot got the balance of power on the county council in 1985 a new school for Earby was one of my demands in exchange for support of a minority Labour administration - Cravenside and Barlick's Library were also built in the same era - I loved the horsetrading with Louise Ellman and the improvements achieved on my patch.)

But, back to the present, the new school needs to be in the right place. Parents have already expressed concern that infant and junior children will be sharing a site with senior school pupils, but this has been brushed aside by the county. Other worries have been stonewalled by those in the corridors of power.

I'm disappointed that the county council are pressing ahead with plans for the school on the playing fields in spite of this local opposition.

More suitable land (of Clifford Street) has been reserved for a new primary school for decades, but the county appear hell bent on extending Barnoldswick's built up boundary into the town's green wedge between Kelbrook Road and the canal. (Taken together with holiday chalet plans by the Birtwistle clan and possible pressure for industrial development, we could see the whole of that wedge covered in concrete within a decade if we're not careful.)

Plans for the proposed school show it being built on what's known as the 'top field' below the sports centre, which is mainly used for soccer. This flies in the face of a government ban on building on playing fields. The proposal would lead to a loss of playing fields without any compensating improvement to sports facilities.

An all weather pitch is shown on the plans, this is an unfunded possible future development and doesn't form part of the planning application. Frankly, including the all weather pitch on the plans is a bit of a con. (The indicative location of the all weather pitch is where the crumbling creative arts block of the high school is at present. A separate building scheme will replace this at the other end of the high school.)

A big worry for Barnoldswick is the future use of the land previously earmarked for the new school off Clifford Street.

Last year,the county council asked to change the designation of this land to housing. Such a development would create awful access issues in the Rainhall Road and Harrison Street area of town and destroy a green wedge in an area of high density terraced housing.

The school plans show this as possible future woodland, but again this is not part of the planning application and with no guarantee that this would ever happen, it's just another con. The fear is that the county would flog it off to the highest bidder, take the money and run.

A missed opportunity with the school plans is that the planners have ignored the recommendation of a Department of Energy funded study by the town council that any new development should include a combined heat and power plant. The school and sports centre complex is an ideal candidate for such a scheme, which would save massive amounts of energy and CO2 emissions. This is a once in a lifetime chance to cut energy costs up the spout.

A further flaw with the plans is that the school would use the existing access off Kelbrook Road to the sports centre.

This access is barely adequate now, with cars having to shuttle single file along it. Dangerous tailbacks onto Kelbrook Road already occur, this will be a massive problem unless improvements are carried out. As proposed, the plans will put our children at risk of life and limb. At peak times, that inadequate junction will be busier than Piccadilly Circus with over a thousand infant and secondary school pupils crossing every which way against clogged up traffic.

This will be compounded as the plans show that safe routes to the existing high school will be cut off by the building plans, forcing even more children onto dangerous Kelbrook Road. A cross country route from Long Ing and a quiet road approach along Clifford Street will be blocked by an 8ft high security fence. This fence will also block other popular established walking routes in the area.

Another consideration is that parking for the school will be wholly inadequate. Existing parking at the sports centre spills onto Kelbrook Road daily. Without more parking space, the extra parking pressure from the new school will cause chaos.

By re-siting the new school and redesigning access arrangements these issues can be overcome and the county council can lift the threat of hundreds of extra houses being built in that area, too.

I'm urging the county to reconsider, re-think and re-site the new school. I hope I'm not wasting my breath...

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Re: New Primary School

Post by PanBiker » 25 Oct 2012, 08:50

I will create a new forum for County Council matters and move this into it, we have them for Town, Parish and Borough. Not time to do it at the moment as I have to go to work.
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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tardis » 25 Oct 2012, 13:59

I think the plans for the new school are good, apart from the fact that they have not included any renewables.

The comments about children mixing are a complete red herring, because it is only through active utilisation of these children in a useful way that you will actually impose some respect for others.

I actually think the objections placed here are nothing more than political.

We should welcome the new school and the abandonement of the old stone built property that it not fit for purpose, but has to be done because some councty coucillor agreed to the closing of the flexibility at Gisburn Road

With two school entry at the new church school it is Gisburn Road that will have to up it's game, and that is a shame since that is where I went as a youngster and I'm still proud of the start that I got there.

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Re: New Primary School

Post by David Whipp » 25 Oct 2012, 14:48

Tardis wrote:I actually think the objections placed here are nothing more than political.
Funny ain't it?

I'm talking about safety, urban sprawl, despoilation of countryside between Barlick and Salterforth and practical points about parking and footpaths.

Yes, I suppose these relate to policies, so they are 'political' in a pedantic sense, but Tardis seems to think they aren't worthy of consideration.

Surely, this is the very stuff of local debate and discussion and the more you talk these things through, the better decisions you're likely to arrive at in the end?

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Whyperion » 25 Oct 2012, 22:34

Maybe build the new 2 form entry school down off Wellhouse Street instead, I belive theres a bit of land near to L&P Springs that might be up for acquisition ?

Once the old school is converted to housing , and more houses are built in Barnoldswick then that should fill the school building up quite well.

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Re: New Primary School

Post by David Whipp » 26 Oct 2012, 13:24

What a wicked person you are Whperion!

How can you possibly suggest the county council forks money out to buy a site, when they'd much rather be a seller coining it in by flogging their own land off for housing?

More seriously, the existing Church School site is in the middle of the most built up area of terraced housing in Barlick. My preference would be to see the old school site being used for public open space rather than development.

Any bets whether it will be public good or organisational gain that wins out on this one?

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tardis » 26 Oct 2012, 14:24

David Whipp wrote:
Tardis wrote:I actually think the objections placed here are nothing more than political.
Funny ain't it?

I'm talking about safety, urban sprawl, despoilation of countryside between Barlick and Salterforth and practical points about parking and footpaths.

Yes, I suppose these relate to policies, so they are 'political' in a pedantic sense, but Tardis seems to think they aren't worthy of consideration.

Surely, this is the very stuff of local debate and discussion and the more you talk these things through, the better decisions you're likely to arrive at in the end?
Away and do it then big man, instead of making insubstantial points which are covered off in both the documents and comments. Try to be constructive instead of just scaremongering for political nuance. Far better in an environment on open debate to actually be able to demonstrate that your diatribe is without merit or value. :laugh5:

It would be far better if West Craven and the new church school could be built on a brand new greenfield site, but instead they have to build within what they already have, even a man of your substantial bullying would appreciate that.

Maybe you should say which county cllr allowed the withdrawal of Gisburn Road as the flexible piece of the Barnoldswick Educational structure. Then maybe we have appropriate accountability. :cool4:

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Re: New Primary School

Post by David Whipp » 26 Oct 2012, 18:30

Steady there Tardis, you're letting your prejudices show!

Nothing insubstantial about the impact on local residents, generations of children to come, people using other services in the area and the wellbeing of the town generally.

If you want to prove your point, why don't you address the points at issue (instead of just slagging me off?)

And talk of building within what there is, why not use the land which has been earmarked for a replacement primary school for decades?

Devil is almost inevitably in the detail.

You need to be able to take what the 'experts' tell you with a pinch of salt and you need to listen to what people on the ground are saying, use your own experience (not just book knowledge - though that has a part) - to guide your judgement.

If, in your final sentence, you're inferring that I was responsible for the reduction in the admission number, I should feel flattered that you think I ever had such power! The reality is that, with local management, schools have more and more been the masters of their own destinies. No doubt reducing the admission number to fit the number of children in the area made good sense to the Education Authority.

I'm afraid I don't quite see, though, how this affects the precise location and detailed planning considerations relating to a new primary school? Perhaps you could spell this out for those of us of slower wit?
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Re: New Primary School

Post by Stanley » 28 Oct 2012, 04:53

Time for a gentle word I think. Older members will recognise that this post is getting a little overheated and will also remember the consequences. Please cool down a bit. Everyone is allowed an opinion and the Mafia have never inhibited genuine discussion. However, when personal attacks start we take notice as it affects the whole of the site. Please moderate the language and raise the politeness quotient!
We have a well-mannered clean site, we intend that it should stay that way. Give it a bit of thought.
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Re: New Primary School

Post by Whyperion » 28 Oct 2012, 06:12

My mums local EA has addressed the issue of additional (primary) school places in a number of ways: Portakabins ( well portable structu buildings ) in the playground ( unfeasable for Church School - maybe option for Gisburn Road ? ) ; Re-purchasing an older school building that had been previously sold for 1/10th of the amount and used as a mosque for the interim time ( with substantial improvements to the fabric thereof undertaken ) . Re acquiring a building that had been used as a busy community centre ( admittedly no cinema had been incorporated into it ). Of course if they had not sold off over previous years substantial school buildings they would not be in this trouble.

I don't really know Gisburn Road to say if it is a suitable site for expansion to the predicted required degree.

I don't think the need for additional public space in areas of terraced housing not a brisk walk away from Letcliffe or a relatively safe meander to Victory Park is proven ( the whole of that style of housing in Barnoldswick would quite happilly sit in unrelieved housing grids at least a couple of areas of London I have lived in).

If the people of Earby are so concerned about locally educating their children I understand the wonderful coalition government has provided the means and ways of establishing free schools which remove the interfering and overbearing county council management of local education. I think there is space in Earby to build something of appropriate size , or if change of use planning applied for ( which I think in the case of free schools is being promoted as easier to obtain), a couple of presently unused or under occupied warehouses that could be converted. Of course free schools policies may also make any bid to acquire the former Barnoldswick school for continued edcational purposes difficult to turn down - I assume relavant parties have confirmed any covenants in the grant or purchase of the land for educational or other restricted purposes ?

The rest of the initial points raised seem to me to be suitable examples of questions that I would expect any local Councillor to make as a matter of scrutiny of both general planning nature and of educational provision policy and execution and are worthy of suitably reasoned answers no matter what motivation for actually raising the issues might be. And the choice of expansion of a Church school over a 'county' school must surely reflect the expressed preference of a substantial parents that their children receive a Church backed education as it is perceived to be of a better quality in some way. ( and the Church will chip in towards the building costs )

I was educated under a system that ( however badly delivered by teachers and somewhat disconnectedly between institutions ) provided aged education in bands 5-8 , 9-12 and 13-16/18 ( the middle school system ) Although expensive to operate (three heads are more expensive than two , assuming infants and primary institutions are single sited ) and easily expandable backwards for early years 3/4 incorporation under previous political administrations. The system provided at age 9 introductions to specialist teaching of cookery/craftwork [dependend on facilities in each school ] art, science , music , PE , RE, maths and languages , and the potential streaming of ability groups to stretch pupils from a relatively early age and incorporate sensible groupings of ages. I can see why the system worked better in urban areas as the fewer age groups in less populated areas might have been difficult to accomodate in some designed school buildings. ( I think the system may still be in use in parts of Kent and Leicestershire ? ) The system also retained 6th forms ( mostly for Rugger games against other county and independent schools I think rather than any meaningful educational purpose compared with 6th Form/ FE colleges )

( Although the monster London County Council - I still think of this when I see LCC - buildings for primary schools covering three or four storeys would have ended up with probably the upper floor/s out of use ( unless one ran the model railway club in the otherwise vacant top floor ! )

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Stanley » 29 Oct 2012, 05:24

You're getting such good value out of the site. Ever re-considered becoming a donor?
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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tardis » 31 Oct 2012, 14:35

Stanley wrote:Time for a gentle word I think. Older members will recognise that this post is getting a little overheated and will also remember the consequences. Please cool down a bit. Everyone is allowed an opinion and the Mafia have never inhibited genuine discussion. However, when personal attacks start we take notice as it affects the whole of the site. Please moderate the language and raise the politeness quotient!
We have a well-mannered clean site, we intend that it should stay that way. Give it a bit of thought.
Sorry, if I over stepped the mark Stanley, but I only wish to correct half truths and scare stories.

As I understand it the Town Council failed to put it's consultation in on time to the County. That is a matter of public record.

The only issue I raised was the security of the site, because the woodland now has TPO's on it, and anyone stood there has a free view of the whole site. Can not understand why someone would wish to compromise security in such a manner, and maybe force the County to build a high security fence around the site.

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Stanley » 01 Nov 2012, 05:42

No problem Michael, nothing wrong with robust opinion but we have seen in the past that when it becomes personal it leads to bad feeling and this spreads through the site. I'm sure many of the older members will remember the problems we had when it got so bad we had to ban some long-standing members. I used to dread logging on in the morning because I knew that I was going to have to deal with crap. Thanks for the apology, no harm done.
As for the new primary school. I hate change but recognise that the York Street School has reached its sell-by date. The wonder of it is that the staff have managed to run a good school for so long despite the overcrowding in the old building. The task now is to make sure that whatever replaces it is fit for purpose and an improvement. There have been some terrible examples of money wasted on buildings that were designed and erected without consulting the teachers.
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Re: New Primary School

Post by David Whipp » 01 Nov 2012, 09:25

Tardis wrote:The only issue I raised was the security of the site, because the woodland now has TPO's on it, and anyone stood there has a free view of the whole site. Can not understand why someone would wish to compromise security in such a manner, and maybe force the County to build a high security fence around the site.
I'll address the substantive point and ignore the innuendo...

The county council planning application includes a security fence around the whole of the proposed primary school site. I think this is standard county practice nowadays and has caused lots of problems elsewhere.

In our case, this proposed fence will block established walking routes. These routes include ones used by children from the Coates area and the Rainhall Road area accessing the high school and sports centre. As these routes use quiet roads or cross fields and woodland they are far safer than walking along the main roads. (The security fence will also block well used recreational routes, some of which have been in use since the closure of the railway.)

It seems perverse that the county (parts of which promotes road safety and safe routes to school) are proposing a design that'll block existing safe routes and force school children attending both the existing high school and proposed primary onto busy main roads with numerous junctions to cross.

Cutting off the short cut across the fields will also add five minutes or so onto the walking journey to school, probably leading to extra mum's taxi journeys or kids hurrying because they are late with the increased risk of taking chances crossing roads.

Even if the county are hellbent on building on the playing fields, instead of the adjacent site earmarked for the replacement primary school for the last 40 years, the design and layout of the building and facilities can be changed to acknowledge the pedestrian access across the fields from Long Ing etc.


(By the by, the tree preservation order (TPO) on what I call the Silentnight Wood has yet to be confirmed. This is due to happen at the area committee next Tuesday.

Here's a brief history of this area: Until a few years ago, Silentnight owned Moss Shed and the land off Long Ing which surrounds Moss Side and stretches to the end of their lorry park and garage.

Many moons ago, some consideration was given to creating a new access off Kelbrook Road to the south of the high school which would have provided a good access for the Silentnight factory and opened up all the land in that area for development. The proposals didn't find favour, and were dropped.

Some time after this, Silentnight reacted to neighbour concerns about noise and other nuisance from the factory by installing acoustic fencing and changing working practices at their site. The company also planted hundreds of trees in the field overlooking their lorry park as a buffer between their commercial area and residential areas nearby.

When the Clarke family brought the company back into private ownership in the naughties they sold off the company's land and buildings to various concerns to help fund the shareholder buyout. These assets were then leased back by the company.

The woodland and field around Moss Side was purchased by a company called Stirling Investments.

During the development of Pendle's new Local Plan (now called a Local Development Framework), Stirling Investments made representations that their land off Long Ing should be earmarked for housing [The county council also asked that their land off Clifford Street - up to then the replacement primary school site - should be allocated for housing.]

With warning bells ringing loudly, I asked for the 'Silentnight' woodland to be protected with a TPO. At the time, this was rejected by the local area committee. One local councillor, not of my ilk, stating that the land might be needed for development... However, with a different balance on the committee this year, I was able to successfully renew the TPO proposal. Hopefully, this will be confirmed next week.

Amongst a long list of objections to the TPO from the owners of the land is the following statement which rather unerlines my continued concern about unwelcome development in that area of Barnoldswick: "It is important to reiterate the opportunity that this land offers in the future delivery of a comprehensive redevelopment... encompassing this site and surplus land on the adjacent school site.")

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tardis » 01 Nov 2012, 15:51

David Whipp wrote:Amongst a long list of objections to the TPO from the owners of the land is the following statement which rather unerlines my continued concern about unwelcome development in that area of Barnoldswick: "It is important to reiterate the opportunity that this land offers in the future delivery of a comprehensive redevelopment... encompassing this site and surplus land on the adjacent school site.")
In the real world progress must be made so that jobs are created, there is money in the local economy, the local community is vibrant and increasing. Businesses must believe that any expansion will be allowed, and not simply harrassed by what can be seen as petty bureaucratic processes.

I joined the Woodland Trust whilst at Uni, I am also aware that trees are not permanent features in a landscape. To actually impress upon others the value of the environment you must encompass the whole and have a holistic approach. I do object to some of your piecemeal approach to certain sections, because as you interfere in one area it will have unintended consequences in others. As a Cllr, you are accountable for those unintended consequences, and it would be good if someone did admit a mea culpea occasionally.

These TPO's just add extra cost to any potential development when the Core Strategy that Pendle Cllrs have signed off says that industrial development should be confined to along the canal. Why would anyone wish to stop businesses coming here and preventing the town becoming a vibrant place that people wanted to work here? It may not even stop them. If it were Tesco the Council would not be able to afford to fine them.

However, that development must be seen to deliver major benefits to the area of our old mill town.

As to the siting of the school. I believe that this has already been addressed by the public documentation in some quite substantial detail in all the modelling, and I wouldn't want to live on Clifford Street if two forms were coming out of that area every school day. Nor do I think it appropriate to have an access down by Silentnight as Children and Trucks don't mix very well.

I actually believe that your objections have already been dealt with a fully democratic format, and you should really set out line by line where you believe that your objections are both realistic and actually viable with proper plans laid out for alternatives, fully costed and drawn.

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Whyperion » 01 Nov 2012, 23:33

There does not seem to be lack of space in Barnoldswick for moderate expansion of currently vacant land for industrial ( employment land ) development.
School Transport / Travel Plans had to be provided at some time about 10 years back , has this requirement now been dropped ?

Thinking back to my earlier notes , Re-acquiring Rainhall Road for County Educational Purposes is not such a daft idea. The small, office based, businesses could be re-located into the former HSBC building, and the resulting space opened up be used for the Primary aged groups (8/9/10 ) ?

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tardis » 02 Nov 2012, 10:24

:surprised: it made it into the B&E

Is there an election running for the County? :laugh5:

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Re: New Primary School

Post by David Whipp » 02 Nov 2012, 17:16

Tardis wrote:you should really set out line by line where you believe that your objections are both realistic and actually viable with proper plans laid out for alternatives
My original post on this detailed the concerns about the county plans. Concerns that are shared by residents and parents.

I haven't seen any reasoned argument, on OGFB or elsewhere, that answers or rebuts the issues I'm raising over the proposed site of the new school.

Some reasoned debate could lead to improvements in the proposals.

I fear that Tardis's defence of the county corner could indicate a 'might is right' attitude from the authority that holds all the cards on this matter (the county council make the decision on their own planning applications...).

Is Tardis able to answer the specific points raised?

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Stanley » 03 Nov 2012, 05:14

You know what my attitude to LCC is. All I know is that they shouldn't be allowed to decide on what is quintessentially a local matter. Abolish them!
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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tardis » 03 Nov 2012, 11:02

Stanley wrote:You know what my attitude to LCC is. All I know is that they shouldn't be allowed to decide on what is quintessentially a local matter. Abolish them!
My only concern would be the roads, but otherwise I do agree that every school should be free of political control.

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tardis » 03 Nov 2012, 11:14

Cllr Whipp

Maybe you are forgetting the 'poison chalice' of the LDP

If the Town Council had actually picked up the facilities available there could already be a mandated planning control within the town.

Local decisions on local matters

The records of the Town Council planning committee will demonstrate that I have asked many questions on the subject whilst the Town Council has stalled, and even told me it would put one in place when there was insufficient money in the budget to actually do the referendum.

I would have done it, if I'd been a cllr, because it wrests power away from central control and localises things. Meanwhile you appear to play from the galleries with bellicose gusto but no actual substance. A paper politician with writing on both sides just in case the opportunity arises. Put forward plans and allow them to be democratically decided upon in the appropriate forum.

I understand that it is frustrating that you aren't a county cllr, but you must also accept the same democratic mandate of that function as the rest of those unelected to that body.

I also understand that you are standing as prospective LibDem Cllr for West Craven in the County Elections next year.

You need to ask yourself why the Town Council has not picked up that power to actually demonstrate that you are willing to be fully accountable for decisions that you take and serve the town, in the interests of the town.

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Callunna » 03 Nov 2012, 11:49

I would have done it, if I'd been a cllr...

It’s very easy to criticise our politicians. I do it all the time from the comfort of my armchair. It’s quite another thing actually BEING a politician, I should imagine. Absolutely no offence intended to anyone and I’m not singling anyone out in particular, it’s just that Tardis’s comment sparked off my thinking.

Does anyone on OGFB feel that they should stand for election? If you are sure you’re right about everything and the elected politicians are wrong, shouldn’t it be your duty to the rest of society to remedy the situation?

Or is it just easier to sit in front of your computer without actually having to be accountable for any decisions? I’m afraid I fall into the latter category...

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Tripps » 03 Nov 2012, 12:45

NIcely put, and timely. :smile:
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: New Primary School

Post by Whyperion » 03 Nov 2012, 20:30

It looks to me as if facts and opinions are getting muddled , and neither are leading forward to what is the best for the education of children in , lets say , West Craven.

It seems that the Existing CofE primary school is too small for predicted demand for places. Expansion on the existing site is not feasible. I did not realise a location in Barnoldswick had been identified for education purposes some time ago. As far as I can remember for a year or so the preferred location had been declared by LCC as a site adjoining the High School, if there was opportunity for representations to be made concerning this , one would assume LCC have considered those before drawing up the present building plans. It does not mean that further , better in the light of time for reflection, considerations cannot be made.

Anyone thought though if there is increased demand for primary places , there's going to be an increase later on for high school places - can they be accommodated in the existing building without expansion ?

As to security fences , I understand there are also security gates that can be placed within the fence to allow access when required.

David Whipp
Senior Member
Posts: 2875
Joined: 19 Oct 2012, 18:26

Re: New Primary School

Post by David Whipp » 05 Nov 2012, 08:54

The posts on wider issues around local democracy and decision making are welcome, though it'd be good to get back to discussing the merits, or otherwise, of the planning application for the proposed new school that's in front of us!

By the by, when the wider consultation on the new school was discussed at the West Craven Area Committee some months ago, all but one of the Barnoldswick representatives favoured it being built on the previously earmarked land - not the high school playing fields. This led to a tied vote on the committee. The chairman (an Earby rep at the time), used his casting vote to block these comments being sent to the county council. (So much for 'local decisions on local matters'!)

Tardis attempts to start more hares (red herrings?) running about planning policy development. Any neighbourhood plan for Barnoldswick has to 'conform' to the borough Local Development Framework' (LDF). As Pendle's LDF has yet to be finalised and could well change, it'd be difficult to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan (NP).

(I described NPs as poisoned chalices to Tardis as they are akin to shuffling deckchairs; the important decisions on planning matters are being taken at national and at LDF level. 'Local' decision taking could be reduced to deciding where unwelcome development will take place - not whether unwelcome development should take place or not.

An example of this is housing numbers. The LDF is required to allocate enough housing land to meet regionally set 'need'. This boils down to Barnoldswick needing to identify land for 300 new homes. Despite opposition, this figure remains in the LDF. A Neighbourhood Plan couldn't choose to set a figure of zero or 100 or whatever, as it wouldn't conform to the LDF. So the only decision to be made locally (and perhaps not even that) will be where those houses should be sited. At this point, lots of people will get involved with the planning process, perhaps objecting to houses on this site or that site, but they won't be able to affect whether we get the houses or not. This is a direct parallel with foodstore application. Locally, we can influence the location of a store, but the real decision about whether we get one or not is made in national planning policy way over our heads.

Another example of LDF calling the shots is industrial development. Over the years, we've been very supportive of making sure there's enough employment land available for employers to expand or locate here and create and protect jobs. For several years, we've had large areas (Barnsey Mill, Crow Nest, Bankfield) with planning approval for new industrial units. Unfortunately, there hasn't been the demand for the new space. Despite this, the LDF calls for yet more land to be identified for industrial development. [To my mind, this is crackers. Sadly, a majority on Pendle Council voted down an amendment to reduce the land required for industry at the last full council meeting.] Barnoldswick's NP will have to determine the extra land to be allocated for industry, even if this is academic and totally unnecessary. Again, a poisoned chalice.)

The West Craven committee will be discussing the LCC planning application for the proposed new school at its meeting tomorrow evening (Tuesday) at the Rainhall Centre (7pm start). The recommendation from the planning staff is to object - on the basis that the proposal conflicts with national and local planning policies in relation to playing fields and open space...

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