Last chance to have say on school closure plan

Shevington Community Primary School
Shevington Community Primary School

Shevington residents have just hours left to have their say on the proposed closure of one of its primary schools.

Ward councillors Damian Edwardson, Mike Crosby and Paul Collins are appealing to residents to make sure they send their replies to Wigan Council before the deadline tomorrow.

The consultation was launched last month to gauge public opinion on the council’s plan to close Shevington Community Primary School in a bid to deal with a surplus of places in the area.

The plan has received strong opposition from parents in the area but the council has said the move is necessary to prevent shevington Federation, which runs CPS, Millbrook and Vale, from facing a £500,000 budget deficit by the 2019/20 school year.

Wigan Council’s cabinet approved the move to formal consultation after a pre-consultation period, which received more than 600 responses was held on the future of the three schools in the federation.

The final decision on the plan will be made by the cabinet in January , and if approved, the school will be closed by October 27, 2017.

On behalf of all three Councillors, Coun Damian Edwardson said: “Coun Crosby, Collins and I have been very clear from day one that we oppose any plans to close one of our schools.

“Unfortunately we are now at the point where a consultation on closure is taking place and so we are calling on all our residents to respond to the council and have their say.

“We are extremely disappointed that our community and its children are in this position, facing an uncertain future that will undoubtedly have a long-term impact at the very heart of our community.

“However it seems the overwhelming pre-consultation feedback was not enough to convince the decision makers that closure of any of our schools was not the answer.

“We will continue to stand with our residents and community groups, who have been fantastic throughout this whole process. For example the Save Shevington Federation community group have worked extremely hard over the last few months, organising meetings and workshops on writing responses to the consultation etc.

“Along with ourselves and the Parish Council we hope that the outcome of this hard work will be a positive one for the community and more importantly, the children directly affected by this proposal.

“Basically we are calling for a final push for responses to the consultation, we need as many people as possible to feedback to the council and make it very clear that should they proceed with the current plan to close an outstanding school that has been at the heart of the community for over 200 years, it will have potentially damaging repercussions for generations to come.

“We are told that the best interest of the children are at the core of this proposal. If that is the case we urge residents to make it clear in their responses that closing one of our schools in the heart of our community is simply not the answer.”

If approved, the plan would see pupils at CPS moved to Shevington Vale, which would be extended to accommodate them. But concerns have been raised about the distance and safety of the route pupils would have to take to travel to school and the extra cost that would face some parents.

But the council has assured parents that these concerns will be carefully considered by the highways team.

James Winterbottom, director for children’s services at Wigan Council, said when the consultation was launched: “Our priority throughout this process is to make sure that all children in Shevington continue to benefit from the highest standards of education.”

The consultation closes on Thursday and can be found on Wigan Council’s website under Consultations.