Liberal Democrats continue to hold Gloucestershire County Council administration to their promise as Council reconfirms that they are happy for children to walk for potentially over an hour to get to the new primary school.
After a hard-fought campaign working alongside the Parish Council and local residents, Liberal Democrat councillors and activists helped secure the planned new primary school to be built in the north end of the village to cater for the new developments.
However Conservative Councillor Patrick Molyneux, Cabinet Member for Economy, Education and Skills on Gloucestershire County Council, confirmed that children under 8 can be expected to walk 2 miles to school and children over 8 to walk for 3 miles – meaning many primary school children could end up walking over two hours to school and back every day.
Alex Hegenbarth, Liberal Democrat candidate for the Bishop’s Cleeve division, said “I am worried that, despite the promises made during the Cabinet meeting on 16th December that the primary school wouldn’t be built on Kayte Lane, the County Council administration are trying to backtrack on their commitment to build the new school near the new developments. That is why it is vital that residents are part of the consultation process to make sure we get a location that’s best for the village, not just what’s best for the Council.”
Concerns surrounding the Council’s commitment to involving local people in the discussions were heightened this week when Councillor Molyneux replied to Alex Hegenbarth’s request that residents were meaningfully consulted on the school’s location that “The location of the new primary school in Bishops Cleeve will be announced shortly once contractual agreements have been signed” – ringing alarm bells that local Councillors, the Parish Council, and residents would be ignored in the name of expedience.
“The Councillor’s language suggests that rather than letting parents have their say on what’s best for their children the County Council could be landing the school miles away from where the school is needed." Alex said. "That's not acceptable.”
For more background on the hard work that went into securing a location for the school near the new developments, please click here.