Parents angered over school move plan

Ince St Mary's Primary School campaigners - Hayley Makin (left) and Charlotte Johnston
Ince St Mary's Primary School campaigners - Hayley Makin (left) and Charlotte Johnston

OUTRAGED parents have accused the council of ignoring them after plans to move and rebuild a primary school were approved.

But a public consultation - conducted as part of the plans earlier this year - showed that the overwhelming majority did not back the proposal.

Members of a campaign group to save the school - Ince St Mary’s C of E - told the Evening Post they feel the council is “forcing a decision upon a community who are overwhelmingly opposed to it”.

Parent Mark Lloyd said: “We are aware that something needs to be done, the school is in a poor state and has been for a long time. However, we’re not happy about the way the consultation was conducted and even less enamoured that the outcome has been ignored.

“In the space of one generation, Spring View has seen shops, a post office, doctor’s surgery, launderette, parks, playing fields, police station, and many other essential facilities all disappear.

“Anyone can see that the current site is more than big enough to build a bigger school. This makes a mockery of conducting the consultation in the first place. If they were going to just go ahead any way, why ask us?”

The council has cited a proposed shortfall of school places in the upcoming years as a reason for moving the school less than a mile from its current location.

And as the building is in a poor condition, Coun Sue Loudon, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We owe it to the children to give them a better building, one which is free of dust, damp walls and leaks.”

Consultation results reveal that out of 439 asked, 397 said they did not think the council should go ahead with the proposal. Forms were returned from members of the community, parents and members of staff at the school among others.

The new site will be on land already owned by the local authority and the £3.2 million needed to fund the building will be made available from capital funding.

Coun Loudon added: “There is high demand for school places in the Platt Bridge and Abram area – the relocation and extension of St Mary’s provides the perfect opportunity to address that shortfall.”

But parent Hayley Makin believes a degree of “scaremongering” was taking place.

She said: “The same thing has repeatedly been said by the council; if we don’t accept this lifeline then our children will have to go to wherever there is space which could be miles away.

“Losing a school may not seem like much to other areas but when you live in an area that has seen everything disappear, what little you have left means a lot.”