School Places Warning

The County Council have warned that because of the new housing being built , they expect they’ll be short of 73 places at Sweyne Park School in 2009. Chris has sent the following letter to the Evening Echo, which has now been published:

It’s depressing news that we are likely to have a shortage of 73 secondary school places in Western Rayleigh in 5 years – but it’s hardly surprising. What do you expect when you close a school and decide to put houses on the school playing fields?

The County Council have been in cahoots with the Rochford District Council to encourage this development and local children will have to pay the price. So Councillor Webster has a cheek to try to blame the Labour Government for this – it’s nothing to do with them, and it’s alarming that such a senior politician is in denial about this.

The councils involved have tried to keep things from the public – for example the decision to build on the playing fields was taken in a secret session of the district council, without public consultation. Even now the County Council won’t say how much money Wimpey have paid for the site.

Meanwhile the Conservatives now seem certain to break their pledge to get the replacement sports centre open by the end of 2005, and it will be smaller than expected. There will be no healthy living centre, and no signs of a doctor’s surgery. Blocks of flats are being built without communal gardens for children to play in.

It’s going to take a lot of determined action from local people and ward councillors to get the two councils to start putting things right. The phrase “residents are being sold down the river” comes to mind- but if there was a river here, the County Council would probably want to build over it!