Security fear over school expansion

Published on: 02 Jun 2014

A CONTROVERSIAL proposed extension to Mangotsfield CE Primary School

A CONTROVERSIAL proposed extension to Mangotsfield CE Primary School will be considered by planning councillors at South Gloucestershire in the next few weeks.

As well as seven new classrooms, a studio hall and a bigger staff room, the scheme includes a playing field on a separate site from the main school on the other side of Emersons Green Lane.

Many parents and grandparents say this presents a major safety risk to children, who will have to cross the lane – a public right of way used by walkers, riders and cyclists – to get to the field.

Dozens have signed a petition calling for the path to be closed and re-routed around the new field.

But parish councillors and neighbours say the ancient green lane is an important wildlife habitat and must be retained.

The school in Church Farm Road, which already has 480 pupils, is expanding to accommodate 630 children in order to meet high demand for primary places from parents in Emersons Green and Mangotsfield.

Some people living nearby are worried about the likely increase in traffic, but if the school did not take extra pupils, families who live within walking distance would face having to drive their children to schools further away.

The school’s governors have spent some months in discussions with council officers to come up with a compromise and the plans have been changed.

In a letter published on the school’s website, chairman of governors Paul Moorhouse said there would no longer be classrooms on the new site. The grass field would be bigger than originally proposed and staff parking would be moved there, releasing more play space on the main site.

“The governors feel that, overall, the new plans look fantastic but have one major reservation. The plans involve leaving the existing Emersons Green Lane in place which will mean that the children will need to cross the lane to access the sports pitch. We feel strongly that, however carefully they are supervised in crossing, this introduces an unnecessary safety risk to our children which could have been avoided by closing or re-routing the lane or by building a foot bridge across it,” he said.

The proposed development includes a temporary two-classroom block to house the extra children who will start before the extension is completed, which will be in September 2015 at the earliest.

Formal consultation is taking place on the plans, which are on the South Gloucestershire Council website with the reference PK14/1501/R3F

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