North East Cambridge Area Action Plan Issues and Options 2019
Representation ID: 33168
Respondent: Mr Simon Peyton Jones
If the Plan advocates that [children with no school provision] should go to school somewhere else, it should say where -- and how they will get there. There is much in the Plan about walkability, sustainability, and the existing stress on the Milton Road corridor. How are these priorities to be reconciled with 1000 children being bussed across the city to schools elsewhere? (Even if those schools existed, which they do not.)
I want to comment on the lack of any mention of schools for the new housing, especially for secondary schools.
The need for secondary school places.
The County Council's own school planning methodology anticipates the need for 18-15 secondary school places for each 100 homes built. The proposed development is for around 5000 homes, implying a new need for 900-1250 secondary school places.
Can this demand be met from elsewhere?
No: there is no spare capacity elsewhere in the city. The Local Education Authority has detailed planning projections for school places, which (before the NEC plan) anticipates a serious shortage of secondary school places. That led them to ask all existing secondary schools to expand, and in particular to invest £10m in a new build at Chesterton Community College, to add two new forms of entry. Yet the LEA's figures still show a serious shortfall.
Adding the demand for another 1000 new places will blow the current plans out of the water. They clearly justify a new school. If a new school is not part of the NEC plans, then the Plan should articulate clearly, in black and white where those 1000 children will go to school.
Travel to school
If the Plan advocates that they should go to school somewhere else, it should say where -- and how they will get there. There is much in the Plan about walkability, sutainability, and the existing stress on the Milton Road corridor. How are these priorities to be reconciled with 1000 children being bussed across the city to schools elsewhere? (Even if those schools existed, which they do not.)
A sense of place, of identity
The Plan is admirably ambitious about developing a district with a strong sense of identity and of place. Schools are at the heart of their communities; a community without a school has lost part of its heart.
All of these comments apply equally to primary school places, although I am less familiar with the specifics.
It is remarkable that such a generally-visionary Plan makes no mention of schools -- indeed the word "school" barely appears in the document. Let's fix it.