PROPOSED EXPANSION TO CHESWICK GREEN PRIMARY SCHOOL

PROPOSED EXPANSION TO CHESWICK GREEN PRIMARY SCHOOL

UPDATE

DISCUSSION

Our previous communication advised residents that on 9th November 2020, Solihull Council announced a 6 week period of Consultation with regard to doubling the capacity at Cheswick Green Primary School (CGPS). The additional capacity is designed to accommodate children from the Mount Dairy Farm and Blythe Valley Park housing developments.

The Parish Council has now issued a post on this subject that adds to the debate and picks up on the many points raised by the Residents Association. The below is an update for residents to take account of:-

1) Although the Parish Council had previously recommended an expansion to the school, due to the lack of details and obvious inadequacies contained within the Consultation, they are now opposed to it. Many of the issues were discussed in our previous communication and we endorse the view that the expansion should be rejected.

2) The Residents Association fully support that families from Mount Dairy Farm should be entitled to have their children educated at CGPS. Their applications for entrance into the school should be given due priority.

3) SMBC has continually stated it’s intention not to build a new primary school on Blythe Valley Park. Given this stance, The Residents Association’s recommendation remains that children from Blythe Valley Park should be accommodated at all 3 local primary schools. The schools will have their own accommodation issues and it is incumbent on SMBC to make the relevant investments. Having had the request for a new school declined, the Parish  Council’s proposal to reinstate it as the only option could result in SMBC opting for the expansion of CGPS as the easy option.

4) With the potential to massively increase school traffic, The Residents Association still recommends no parking within 100 metres either side of the school gates, a 20mph Speed limit outside the school and a pedestrian crossing operating at peak times. The Parish Council feel that such measures would put children at more risk, but their logic is difficult to follow.

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5) Residents will be aware that teachers and support staff park on either side of Cheswick Way which causes many dangers. The proposed expansion to the school would significantly increase the volume of traffic which is why a designated parking area (Village Hall/Pub car park) is necessary, Although there are a number of available spaces on this car park during the day, the Parish Council argue that it is for local businesses and visitors to the recreation ground. The proposal to park cars in school grounds is unlikely to be approved as it could be dangerous for the children and take up valuable space.

6) The Parish Council is again floating the idea for a drop-off point and parking area at the back of the school. We repeat that this would transfer the traffic congestion from Cheswick Way to the newly created road, create havoc on Creynolds Lane and probably lead to further housing development.

RESPONSE MECHANISM

The consultation will run for a period of 6 weeks until 18th December 20. All parents and residents are encouraged to respond. It can be accessed on the following link:-

www.solihull.gov.uk/consultation

Any questions can be made via email to researchandpolicy@solihull.gov.uk

CHESWICK GREEN RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

25th November 2020

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INTRODUCTION
Residents may be aware that on 9th November 2020, Solihull Council  announced a 6 week period of consultation with regard to increasing the capacity at Cheswick Green Primary School (CGPS), from 210 to 420 places. The additional capacity is designed to accommodate children from the Mount Dairy Farm and Blythe Valley Park housing developments.

Although our Parish Council has previously recommended an expansion to the school to cater for children from Blythe Valley Park, we are advised by Solihull Council that nothing is cast in stone. The Council advises that respondents views will be taken into account and where appropriate, acted upon. However, an increase of such dimensions raises many issues which residents are asked to consider when submitting their views. Some of these are discussed below:-

EDUCATION STANDARD
Although the school has been awarded a “Good” rating by Ofsted, a number of parents would argue that there are areas which need improvement. Doubling the volume of pupils could see the education standard fall and therefore,  before accepting the proposal, parents are recommended to obtain a commitment on how the school would be run and how the education standard would be increased.

From the plan issued with the Consultation document, it is difficult to appreciate the space and facilities children would have. This could be an issue and it is recommended that parents satisfy themselves that the proposed plans meet their aspirations and would deliver a good learning environment.

CATCHMENT AREA
The Residents Association fully support that families from Mount Dairy Farm should be entitled to have their children educated at CGPS. However, as Blythe Valley Park is some 2.5 miles away and without footpaths, cycle lanes or easy accessed roads to Cheswick Green, it can be argued that not all of these children should be allocated to CGPS. In the absence of a new school, the Residents Association’s recommendation is that children from Blythe Valley Park should be accommodated at all 3 local primary schools.

TRAFFIC
A doubling of school capacity would inevitably lead to further traffic congestion in the immediate area. Not only would this be bad for children’s health, but It would also impact on safety.
Responses should provide views on how the traffic situation could be eased and some suggestions are given below:-

Strictly no parking within 100 metres either side of the school gates.

 A 20mph Speed limit outside the school.

 A Pedestrian crossing outside the school operating at peak times.

A designated parking area for teachers, support staff and children arriving by car (Village Hall/Pub car park?).

The Parish Council has argued for a drop-off and parking area at the back of the school. However, this would only transfer the traffic congestion from Cheswick Way to the newly created road, create havoc on Creynolds Lane and probably lead to further housing development.

In July 2016, the Residents Association surveyed Cheswick Green residents on many local issues. The survey attracted 237 responses and their  preference for primary schools is provided below:-

Expand CGPS with a rear drop-off point       9.6%
Build a new school on Blythe Valley Park    86.2%


RESPONSE MECHANISM
The consultation will run for a period of 6 weeks until 18th December 2020. It can be accessed on the following link:-
www.solihull.gov.uk/consultation

Questions and resident views can be made via email to researchandpolicy@solihull.gov.uk

CHESWICK GREEN RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION

Looking after the interests of residents of the village of Cheswick Green.