Clevedon youngsters join protest against expansion location for special school

PUBLISHED: 16:00 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:16 17 January 2020

Children and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon.              Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Children and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Archant

Youngsters who use greenbelt land in Clevedon have spoken out against a decision to set aside the land to build a special school.

Children and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon.              Picture: MARK ATHERTONChildren and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The land off Brookfield Walk was identified as a suitable location for the expansion of Baytee School, which is 'bursting at the seams' due to growing demand for places.

The announcement has provoked several objections due to the site's proximity to homes and the loss of greenbelt land.

The children, who use the field to play and walk their dogs, argue that, if the school is built, it will threaten wildlife, and they will lose a safe place to play.

Oliver Bibby, aged 10, said: "Please keep our green spaces in our town. It gives us a safe space to play.

Children and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon.              Picture: MARK ATHERTONChildren and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

"My great nanny used to love an apple called morgan sweet, and this apple can no longer be found, as all the orchards are disappearing.

"We need to plant more trees not cut them down to help with global warming."

Jaeden Thomas, aged 10, said: "Building on the site will be destroying memories and stopping kids making new ones."

Another youth said cutting more trees would reduce wildlife in the field.

Children and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon.              Picture: MARK ATHERTONChildren and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Jessica Bibby, aged 11, said: "It has taken centuries to realise how much plastic there is in the ocean, and we are losing wildlife because of that.

"Another reason you shouldn't build a school here is because one tree is equivalent to one house, which means, if you cut that whole orchard, you might as well demolish houses because trees and bushes are houses to wildlife.

"The more you cut down, the more you are pushing away the wildlife, so please don't cut down these trees and demolish that field. Thank you."

North Somerset Council launched a five-week consultation in September asking for feedback on its proposal to create more school places for children with special education needs.

Children and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon.              Picture: MARK ATHERTONChildren and adults protesting against the proposed Baytree School development in fields off Brookfield Walk in Clevedon. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

The survey revealed 96 per cent of 428 responses were in favour of creating extra places, and 90 per cent supported the proposal to expand into a purpose-built school at a second site.

Denise Richardson, head of Save Our Fields said: "If North Somerset takes away another open green space, this will only add to an ever increasing problem in the town centre, let alone the devastating affect to the environment by building on greenbelt land."

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