Proposed Schools' Move to Whittington Way Map - School Sites Map - Green Belt
Letter published in the Herts & Essex Observer on 17 April 2008
|Herts & Essex Observer
12 North Street
|9 April 2008|
Proposed Location of New Schools
I refer to your article in last weeks Observer regarding the "Future of Schooling in Bishop's Stortford" and wish to challenge the reasons being put forward by the schools for selecting the Whittington Way site.
- Evidence is growing that increasing the size of schools on the lines of these proposals leads to diminishing social skills and academic attainment – up to 3 times the rate of exclusions according to the Conservative Party’s education spokesman. Smaller schools whose teachers know their pupils can do very well as is evident from the high standard of educational attainment achieved by Hockerill Anglo European College.
- Schools have not carried out a comprehensive cost benefit analysis on the other viable options, but have taken a blinkered decision to build on Green Belt land. This proposal if accepted would set a precedent which would then allow uncontrolled development to take place on more Green Belt land and hence destroy the town and surrounding areas.
- The schools have deliberately dismissed the Hadham Road site, which is owned by the County Council and is not on Green Belt land. This site can satisfy all the criteria to meet the educational needs for the future and is geographically placed on the west side of the town which is easily accessible and will therefore spread the school traffic, instead of it all being concentrated on the south of the town as would be the case with the Whittington Way site.
- The Whittington Way proposal would impose serious traffic congestion problems not only around the proposal site but across Bishop's Stortford as result of the new houses that would be built on the existing sites. The proposal being put forward by the schools as to how to handle increased traffic around Whittington Way will not deal with the fundamental objections that the site is remote from existing public transport facilities and within walking distance of fewer households than the present sites. Also, there is no mention of how the increased traffic created by the new houses is going to be managed and blended in to the existing roads, which are already overcrowded.
- The schools proposal has conveniently not mentioned the impact of aircraft noise. If Stansted Airport is allowed to expand and/or the BUZAD take off route is moved closer to the site, as proposed by NATS, the proposal will be unable to comply with the maximum noise limits for new school developments. Surely future generations of our children deserve better than to have their education disrupted by aircraft noise.
In conclusion, this is the first time that the public have been given the opportunity to find out about the new schools whose plans have been developed in secret over at least the last couple of years, and unless people make their voices heard now it could well be their last opportunity too.
Therefore, I strongly urge everyone who does not support the location of the new schools and the resulting new housing development to write to their East Hert District Councillor, and Hertfordshire County Councillor so that they can be in no doubt about the strength of opinion on this subject.
For more information about the case against these proposals, see other pages on this website but do not leave it just to us to make your objections for you – numbers will count. I’m afraid people will need to write again formally to object to the proposals when the planning applications are submitted but you need not wait until then to let your Councillor know what you think.Richard Hannah