Residents back school move

RESIDENTS have mounted a counter petition to one opposing the relocation of a school to their neighbourhood. Last week The Comet reported that Victoria Hughes, of Grampian Place in Great Ashby, is collecting signatures to show opposition to plans to move

RESIDENTS have mounted a counter petition to one opposing the relocation of a school to their neighbourhood.

Last week The Comet reported that Victoria Hughes, of Grampian Place in Great Ashby, is collecting signatures to show opposition to plans to move The Thomas Alleyne School from Stevenage Old Town to Great Ashby, as part of the wider Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.

The BSF programme is set to rebuild, remodel and relocate secondary schools, special schools and education support centres across the county, beginning in Stevenage in early 2011.

She cited an increase in traffic and noise, and an interest in protecting the Green Belt land earmarked for development as reasons for opposing the plans.


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But her views have stirred up resistance in the Great Ashby community, with an online petition created the day after The Comet published Ms Hughes' story.

Laura Williams, of Whernside, said: "I am completely dismayed to see opposition to this new school.

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"All Great Ashby residents live on what were green fields a few years ago, so to decry further building is pure nimbyism.

"I have two small children who will hopefully be able to go to a brand new school just a couple of years after its opening.

"The school will be tucked away, visible to very few houses indeed."

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said there is a "desperate need" for a school on the northern side of Stevenage, and that the chosen location is "ideal".

When The Comet took to the streets of Great Ashby yesterday (Wednesday), support for the school's relocation was resounding.

"I think it's a really good idea," said mum Michelle Aldrich.

"My son goes to Round Diamond School, so when he gets older it will be great for him to go to secondary school locally.

"I don't think there will be a lot of extra traffic, and the school will be on the outskirts so it won't really affect us.

"We went to a children's birthday party the other day and everyone there was for it."

Another woman agreed the relocation is a great idea, saying there is a demand for school places because of the new housing estate. "We will get used to the traffic," she said.

And Mark Edwards, of Haybluff Drive, thinks the possibility of children going to school locally is "a definite advantage."

The relocation will also be good for local business, retailers hope.

Marina Singer, who works at Jhoots Pharmacy on Whitehorse Lane, said: "It will bring more people in and put Great Ashby on the map."

Julie Cambidge, who works at A Passion for Flowers on Whitehorse Lane, said: "I think it would be good for business." But she also said: "I don't know if it's going to ruin the village atmosphere."

To sign the petition supporting the relocation of The Thomas Alleyne School, visit www.gopetition.com and type 'Support Great Ashby' in the 'Quick Search' box.

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