New special school will cause 'bottleneck madness' in Wisbech says parish council
A parish council fears plans to build a new special school in a Fenland town will create "bottle neck madness" claiming its chosen site is wrong.
Wisbech St Mary Parish Council made it clear it was not opposed to a new school being built in Wisbech but said the chosen site within its parish boundaries off Barton Road was "completely wrong".
They fear if Cambridgeshire County Council gets the go-ahead to build the SEMH (Social, emotional and mental health) school on the site at the junction of Gadds Lane it will make the building of a secondary school on the site more likely too.
In its comments on the county council's application to build the 60-place school, which will be known as Wisbech Green, the parish council said: "Barton Road at the junction with Gadds Lane is a 60mph limit, Gadds Lane is a single track lane with passing places, The Still is basically a farm track classed as a 'No Through Road'.
"Although there seems to be a ‘small’ amount of infrastructure changes planned at the site to combat the very basic
concerns the wider issue still remains.
"Any increase in traffic will cause chaos. Anyone that lives over the western side of Wisbech and who has to use
North Brink as their main access into town is well aware that due to parking along the river it is effectively a single
"Add into that the Grammar School, add again a closure on the A47 (which happens regularly) all that traffic will pour into that area and you have a situation that can only be classed as bottleneck madness!
"Wisbech St Mary and Guyhirn will be used as rat runs and there are speeding issues in both of these villages currently, without any extra travel movements.
"Even before a single student enters the building, what chaos will building it bring? The road is not suitable for
constant site movements of construction traffic, for example a housing estate in Wisbech St Mary is being built for
70 homes, the village cannot cope now, the movements of HGVs are causing problems for the residents and passers
through, what problems would building a school bring?"
Parish councillors did not hold back either when it comes to the design of the new school, which the county council says is needed to replace the existing one on Algores Way, which is no longer fit for purpose.
In their comments Wisbech St Mary councillors said: "Finally we come onto what the school will look like, Wisbech deserves to be a centre of excellence and the original drawings of what this school will look like appear prison like and basic, it doesn’t take from its rural aesthetics and stands out like a sore thumb.
"To sum up, this development, if it is indeed to serve the western side of Wisbech needs to be placed on Sutton
Road, Wisbech and massive amounts of money needs to be spent on infrastructure before so much a spade goes
into the ground."
A design and access statement submitted in support of the application drawn up by Frank Shaw Associates Ltd said: "Horizons Education Trust have outgrown their current school premises located on Algores Way, Wisbech so seek to establish a new school to the west of Wisbech.
"A new building and landscape design will enable them deliver an exemplary level of service and will help them prepare their students for adulthood.
"This design seeks to create a new school building which is capable of nurturing pupils in a safe, uplifting and welcoming environment.
It continues: "The Wisbech Green SEMH school is intended to be a part of a future Education Campus incorporating a new secondary school."
The aim is to create a 60 place school for 11 to 16-year-olds from around the county, which will be ready to open in September 2023.
Horizons Education Trust’s web site sets out their ambition: “We are an academy where belonging, well-being, growth and achievement are at the core of all we do.
These are important to our purpose, procedures and practice. We aim to provide a sense of security so that everyone feels safe, confident and can demonstrate respect for both themselves and others in a caring and nurturing environment. We encourage a sense of responsibility and accountability, with an awareness of fairness and an appreciation of diversity in an atmosphere aimed at realising and developing potential through challenge."
You can view the plans by visiting the county council's planning portal here.