Council refuses to clarify Bowlee school proposal

Date published: 05 March 2018

Rochdale Borough Council has refused to clarify points raised by former councillor Terry Linden regarding the proposal to build a new high school on green belt land at Bowlee in Middleton.

The council sent a response to the anger of residents, reported on Rochdale Online, which was published on Saturday, saying among other things that it has a "duty to provide sufficient school places".

Mr Linden questioned the accuracy of some of the claims made by the council in its response, he suggested "three main points you should ask for clarity on are":

1. In the fourth paragraph the officer states:

“The council needs to meet this demand so council-owned land on an old airfield at Bowlee has been identified as a possible site”

This would be true if they were talking about 30 years ago but in the last three decades it has been made into what is now Bowlee Community Park which is Middleton’s main leisure and sports facility and the boroughs main event venue for outside events.

2. In paragraph five it states the initial site was not suitable to site a 180-place school. This again does not tell the true facts:

The original consultation paper was for a 120-place school with two partners in the Altus Partnership and the site named was the campus on the Middleton Hopwood College site. When a decision by an unnamed person or service, the size of intake was increased from a four form (120 places) to a six form (180 places)

The change in size, venue and the loss of Hopwood College was made before the end of the original consultation but not all sections of the people consulted were informed and no new paper came out and the consultation period was not extended. This meant many people consulted on the old suggestions and had no update of the dramatic changes.

3. In the last paragraph it states no plans have been drawn up. Once again Altus are holding their consultation were every parent of children in Middleton and Heywood with children in year four or under have received a document showing a plan with the school and sporting facilities directly where now stands the pavilion and sport playing fields with a roundabout on Heywood Old Road, which is not there as we speak.

We asked for clarification but the council refused. A spokesperson said: "We’ve nothing further to add from the statement issued last week."

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