Tracey Fowler, Reporter
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
ANGRY Portishead residents have criticised North Somerset Council over the handling of a consultation process for the creation of two new primary schools in the town.
Hundreds of people attended two public meetings to discuss the plans to make High Down infant and junior schools in Down Road, two 420-place primary schools. The junior school currently has 360 pupils and the infants 270.
Residents and parents say they are frustrated council representatives at the meetings were unable to answer many of their questions. They are now concerned the consultation period will close before they can obtain and consider the information they require to enable them to form and voice opinions.
Parents of pupils at the school fear play space and educational facilities will be reduced with the addition of buildings and were dismayed no plans were available for them to see what building work is being proposed.
Neighbours of the school, worried about the added traffic 210 more pupils and extra staff will bring, say they would like to see plans to manage or reduce the congestion. It was also noted no local councillors were seen at the meetings.
Portishead estate agent Andrew Hill, who lives near the site, said: “Nearby residents already endure severe congestion outside their homes with existing school traffic and it was clear at the meetings no solutions have been found to the added traffic problems the pupil increase will cause.”
Douglas Peden, a father of four-year-old twins, said: “My concerns relate to the sheer lack of detail regarding traffic and parking and crucially, the fact people in the marina and Village Quarter, who are seriously affected by the lack of school places, had not been targeted with any publicity for the meetings.”
Others, meanwhile were concerned the authority has not offered any other proposals and has not explained what will happen if this proposal does not go ahead.
A North Somerset Council spokesman said all questions and comments have been recorded and are now being collated for analysis and appropriate action.
He added: “We are aware travel, transport and potential congestion around the schools is one of the concerns and we will do all we can to minimise these.”
The consultation period ends on September 24 and a further public consultation meeting will be held before this date, when more information should be available.
A copy of the consultation can be found at http://consult.n-somerset.gov.uk/consult.ti where there is also a link to respond. Alternatively contact the school organisation team at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01275 884727.