Withdrawal of schools plan - a victory for the people  Map 

Letter to the Herts and Essex Observer

The Editor
Herts and Essex Observer
12 North Street
Bishop's Stortford
11th December 2008

The withdrawal of the planning applications to relocate two of our schools to the Green Belt and build houses on the vacated sites shows that the authorities will listen and that the views of local people can make a difference (“Schools withdraw plan to move to Green Belt”, Observer, Dec 4). The Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation (BSCF) would like to thank the many hundreds of residents who helped to achieve this result by signing petitions and sending letters of objection to planning authority East Herts District Council (EHDC).

We would also like to thank our community association leaders who played such an important part in raising local awareness of the educational and planning issues at stake, and the town council for its support.

EHDC should be congratulated for the extended opportunity it gave to local people to make their views known and for the thoroughness with which the planning officers reviewed the applications and the case which had been made against them. BSCF hopes that the schools and the local education authority will now accept that there is no prospect of the two schools relocating to a combined campus on the Green Belt, and that trying to relocate both schools to any other site on the edge of town would lead to many of the same objections. But the need remains for more school places, accessible to Stortford families. And until the threat of relocation is withdrawn, residents living next to the existing school sites will have their properties blighted by uncertainty.

We hope therefore that the LEA will now come forward with fresh proposals which make best use of all the educational facilities in the town, including the site at Hadham Road, to deliver the educational opportunities our families want. BSCF will be happy to work with the LEA, the schools and community leaders to help come forward with a plan which we can all support.

Richard F Hannah,
Chairman, Bishop’s Stortford Civic Federation