Up to now I, along with my fellow ward councillor, have attempted to be as helpful as possible in respect of the county council’s attempts to increase primary education provision in Spalding. A s106 that gave LCC 1.5 hectares of land and £1.3m towards the provision of a brand new school, was due to terminate in 2013, meaning that the county would of been left with no means of increasing the education provision, other than by raiding its own rapidly diminishing coffers. Loss of these funds and the associated land would leave the county council with an ever increasing number of children to accommodate, but no money to do it with – hence our very qualifed support.
The county council have moved very quickly from the provision of a new school on the s106 land, to using the associated money to expand Spalding Primary School. The school already suffers from significant issues regarding traffic congestion and parking. My attempts to offer a radical solution to both the existing and the inevitable future parking and traffic problems have apparently not found favour with the county council. Also, having now seen the architect’s plans for the so called extension, my support for this plan is melting away faster than the latest fall of snow. Not only has the extension become a totally separate building, of virtually equal size to the main body of the existing school, the traffic and parking solutions being suggested are, in my opinion, nothing of the sort and will not offer any relief from the daily misery visited on residents.
Unfortunately, the county council is able to give itself planning permission for such schemes and given their remote and too often high-handed attitude to local issues, I am fearful that the residents concerns will be over-shadowed by ‘the greater needed’, or worse still, ‘the bigger picture’.
Lincolnshire County Council education department have gotten themselves in to this mess by failing to forward plan and build on the opportunity presented by having a large area of land available and a £1.3m pot of money. Had they started budgetting from the moment the planning application was approved, I am sure they would of had a significant pot of money to add to the index linked sum now about to become available to them. Instead, they have chosen to use only the s106 money to squeeze what is effectively a 210 place infant’s school, on to the same site as an already full to capacity junior school.
in an urban location, where many of the children would be taken to and from school by either public transport, or Shanks’s Pony, this type of over-development might be acceptable, because whilst the school might be very busy, the roads and streets around it would be little affected by the comings and goings of parents and children. Unfortunately for LCC, this situation does not apply at Spalding Primary School and a large number of children are transported there by private car, all of which must find space to manoeuvre and park in the streets around the school.
The combination of an enlarged school and inadequate traffic and parking solutions, means that residents will very likely have to endure even greater problems should these plans go ahead.
We have organised a public meeting at the school on 5th March at 7pm, so that the public can come along, hear more about the plans and most importantly have their say.