School’s in! Green light for new Greenfield Primary?

A NEW primary school for Greenfield is back on the planning agenda nearly two years after Oldham Council first gave proposals the green light.

A vision of the new school

If plans are passed, Greenfield Primary School, which was built nearly 110 years ago, will be demolished, a replacement building erected on the current playing fields and the ‘old’ site converted into new playing fields.

When fully operational the school’s capacity would increase from 210 to 420 pupils, aged four to 11, with an extra 40 nursery places.

The number of teachers will also increase from 35 to around 70.

When proposals were initially announced in December 2015, it was hoped the first new intake would be at their desks by September 2017.

However, the original planning application was withdrawn in May 2016 and there were other issues over public consultation causing further delays.

Now, the school plans are finally back on the table.

The proposed school building will provide a total of 14 classrooms, a nursery, studio and specialist practical area to be used as a food technology or science room for teaching.

The proposed site will include 22 standard parking spaces and one Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) space for staff and visitors.

Public consultation is open until November 17, 2017 while an overall determination deadline has been set for January 22, 2018.

The current school at Shaw Street

During the previous statutory consultation between November 30 – December 30, 2016, Oldham Council received 115 representations from 84 households: 16 in support of the proposals and 99 against, though it was noted 77 were on identical photocopied letters.

The main objections have been due to flooding issues, concerns over increased traffic, lack of car parking and site not big enough.

When proposals were first announced Councillor Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “I’m sure this will be great news for parents and staff at Greenfield Primary School and it will go a long way in the future towards enabling pupils to attend the school of their choice.

“This move was the preferred option for the staff and school governors, as it will not only increase school places, but remove potential future issues around building maintenance costs, energy efficiency and risk to the quality of education – as the current old stone built school has parts dating back pre-1900.”

Oldham Council said they will not be making any further comment, as with any other application.

Campaigners opposed to proposals for a double entry school are in favour of a new building but only for the current school population.

They say Oldham’s Local Plan should provide local services for local people but the proposed school does not meet these standards.

And they insist local side roads won’t be able to cope with the expected massive increase in traffic.

“The traffic report significantly underestimates the number of vehicles which will arrive and depart to and from the school twice daily, as most of the new intake will travel from outside our area,” said local resident, Dr Joan Harthan.

“This proposal is trying pack in too many children into too small an area,” added fellow resident, Mike Rooke.

“Property prices in our area are so high that the parents of young families can’t afford to buy houses here, hence the demand from local people for primary school places is not rising.

“In fact, demand for local school places within Saddleworth villages has been flat-lining for decades.”

The plans are set to be recommended for approval or refusal at Saddleworth Parish Council’s planning meeting on Monday, November 6.

Plans for the new Greefield Primary School can be viewed online.

 

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