Two Village Green Public Enquiries

On Tuesday 1st February 2011, the Registration of Town and Village Greens Panel of Stoke-on-Trent City Council met, for the first time since July 2007, to consider two village green applications, one at Hulme Road, Park Hall and the other at Anchor Road, Adderley Green.

An application for village green status had been submitted in both cases following council plans to site the Discovery Academy there. Not only did the communities not want a school sited in these locations, they also realized that open green space they had perhaps taken for granted for ongoing community use could be built upon and they wanted to protect it. Margaret Lowe for the Community Schools Action Group applied for Village Green Status for the Park Hall land and Ian Jenkin for the Adderley Green Residents Association applied for Village Green status for the Adderley Green land.

Both applicants attended to observe proceedings at the meeting, although they could not attend the first hour during which panel members were being briefed. Paul Hackney, the legal officer, recommended public enquiries on the basis that the council was the land owner and the decision maker and there were other legal complexities. All panel members supported the recommendation and confirmed with Margaret Lowe and Ian Jenkin that they did too. Ian asked about the financial implications, since an application for Penkhull had been withdrawn for fear of cost liability. However the committee stated that costs would be borne by the council and would be £10,000 for both applications, not each as reported in the Sentinel.

Margaret told the Sentinel afterwards that if a member of the public had objected to village green status the objection would have been thrown out and a decision made there and then, saving costs. But as the council had objected this was their way of being ‘open and transparent’, but also trying to get the public on their side by stating the use of public money.

Ian told the Sentinel that as the council are owners of the land, objectors to the application and have to make a decision on it, there was only really one decision they could have made. However he was pleased about this.

Paul Hackney and the panel chair Joy Garner will appoint an independent inspector. We could hear more about this in May. Following the public enquiry the inspector will make a recommendation to the council that they may be expected to adopt, although they do not have to. If village green status is obtained there would be total removal of any possible development, securing the open space for the community.

Council seeks views on academy location

People who have an interest in the proposed location for the new Discovery Academy in Stoke-on-Trent are being asked for their views as part of a feasibility study being carried out on behalf of the city council.

The proposed Academy is one of five brand new academies planned to be built in the city as part of the £250m Building Schools for the Future programme.

The independent study will look at possible locations for the Discovery Academy and then advise on a preferred site.

Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, Councillor Ian Mitchell, said:

“We are keen to hear from the public on this very important issue. The Discovery Academy is the last piece of the BSF jigsaw. We want to move this process forward to ensure the young people from Edensor and Mitchell high schools are afforded the same opportunities as other students throughout the city, where outline approval has already been granted for new build or refurbishment.”

Anyone wanting to know more about the feasibility study should visit www.stoke.gov.uk/bsf.

Contamination could KO Springfield Academy plans!

VIDEO INTERVIEWS ONLINE!

A meeting of the Children & Young Peoples Overview & Scrutiny Committee today raised major concerns about the proposal to build an academy types school on a greenfield site in Adderley Green.

Committee Chair Cllr Michael Coleman allowed a representative of the Springfield Action Group, Ian Jenkin, to address the meeting.

During his presentation Mr Jenkin raised an issue relating to the contamination of the proposed site and indicated that he had been told by someone who had a working knowledge of such matters that the contamination levels were so bad that it would take millions of pounds to rectify the problem.

He informed the meeting that if the land was left alone there would be no danger to the users of the site. He warned the committee that the moment the diggers roll on site and start moving the earth the contamination would come to the surface and become a danger to all the community.

He also told the meeting that the community was massively against this proposal and urged to council to look at alternative sites such as, Mossfield Road, the old Wilfield High School site and the Mitchell High site.

Cllr Denver Tolley also spoke in support of the community and he told the committee that this was not a case of NIMBYism and that the community were not against and educational facility for the area. But he believed that the Springfield site was not the best site available.

Director of CYPS Ged Rowney defended the proposals to build on Springfield and stated that the Academy sponsor preferred the Springfield site. But he also said that the Parkhall site [Gasometer] was also a strong contender.

Mr Rowney also voiced concerns over the reported levels of contamination and he stressed that the issue needed to be looked into further so that the exact fact could be determined.

At the end of the meeting the chair put four recommendations before the committee to vote on

1] That the levels of contamination’s warranted further investigation and the cost of dealing with it be ascertained.

2] That the committee consider the Springfield site completely unsuitable for the building of any school.

3] That the BSF proposals were extended and involved more members of the public that might be effected by the building of a new school in their area. This issue was particularly relevant to those areas that were to benefit from a proposed new school.

4] That the committee re-confirm their support for a new school to be built on the site of the current Mitchel High School to serve the areas of Bucknall, Berryhill, Bentilee and Abbey Hulton.

These recommendations accepted by a majority vote and will now go forward to the Cabinet for consideration.
Nicky Davis will also blog in further detail on the events of the meeting.

Watch the video below, Chair of the CYPO&S committee
Michael Coleman gives us his reaction to the meeting.

Click on the link at the bottom to watch a video interview with the Vice Chair of the Springfield Action Group Ian Jenkin on the Pits’n’Pots You Tube Channel.

Ross hits out at planning refusal!

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Ross Irving, has today hit out at the Development Management Committee’s decision to reject outline planning consent to allow a City Academy type school on the green field site Springfield.

The committee also went a step further by refusing the planning application totally.

The Sprinfield Action Group has been fighting the proposal to build the Parkhall Academy since the site emerged as the council’s preferred destination for the new school.

Watch the video below in which Ross Irving hits out at the committee’s decision and tells us what may happen now.

Click on the links at the bottom of the article to watch more reaction from the SAG to yesterday’s victory at the Civic Centre.