UPDATED: VIDEO INTERVIEWS NOW ONLINE!
Today the Development Management Committee on Stoke-on-Trent City Council rejected an Outline Planning Application to build a brand new City Academy school on the controversial ‘Springfield’ site in Adderley Green.
Councillors voted against the application by 8 votes to 1.
The Committee then voted in favour of a motion put forward by Cllr Paul Shotton and seconded by Cllr Pauline Joynson refusing the planning application again by 8 votes to 1.
The meeting had started with an overview of the plans presented by Brian Davis head of Planning.
He accepted that this was the most controversial of all the BSF planning applications. But he reminded those present that this application should not be used as a judgment of the BSF programme as a whole.
He highlighted the benefits to community through the added sports and recreation facilities that would come with such a development. He did recognise that there was considerable objections to the development. He also pointed out that the areas was not short of green space with Parkhall Country Park close to the vicinity of the proposed academy.
He recommended that outline planning consent be granted with the satisfaction of certain conditions which included concerns over drainage and contamination of the area and he also conceded that there were concerns over the width of pavements and traffic congestion but he stated that these concerns could be overcome and he considered the site suitable.
Pits’n’Pots’s very own Nicky Davis gave an excellent PowerPoint presentation which pointed out many flaws in the application. She also pointed out that the Springfield site had originally failed the council’s own feasibility study into suitable locations for the Parkhall Academy.
She also reminded those present that Cllr Terry Follows had issued an election leaflet during the last elections stating that he himself was against schools for 1200-1400 pupils and that he was in total favour of schools being in the centre of the communities they are to serve.
Speaking for the Sringfield Action Group Ian Jenkins gave an impassioned address to the meeting highlighting the variety of uses that the Springfield site had offered over the years. He pointed out the threat to the various wildlife in the area. He also informed the meeting that the proposal to divert a footpath around the development it take it closer to an areas troubled by Anti Social Behaviour.
Speaking as a resident as well as a ward councillor Denver Tolley told the meeting that the residents of the area concerned were not anti education, they were very much pro education. He siad that all the residents and the poeople who lived in that part of the city knew how bad the trafiic was and how dangerous the roads were. Indeed there was gridlock yesterday [Tuesday] caused by an accident involving a child being knocked off a bike. He also pointed out that a previous report had suggested that the proposed academy was to serve pupils between the ages of 11-16. The report presented today states that the school is to serve pupils between the ages of 11-18.
Mark Fisher MP gave a very good speech in support of Mitchell High and why it would be wrong for the pupils of that high school to attend a school in Parkhall.
After the applicants address to the committee in support of the development and an extensive question and answers session the application was put to the vote.
As the results were read out in favour of the community, widespread cheering and applause broke out around the chamber.
The Springfield Action Group and the supporters of the Mitchell High School left the chamber in a jubilant mood. But they will expect the fight to continue as the City Council now considers it’s options which include an appeal of the committee’s decision to the Secretary of State and/or a fresh submission of the planing application addressing the Development Management Committees concerns and reasons for refusal.
Please watch the video interview below. Mark Fisher MP gives his reaction to the news. There are more links at the bottom of this article which will take yo to our You Tube channel where you can view more interviews with the action groups representatives and our very own Nicky Davis.