Sites earmarked for free school rejected on safety grounds

TWO Runcorn sites earmarked by parents planning to create Halton’s first free school have been rejected by councillors.

Sandymoor School is currently recruiting first year pupils to start this September in temporary accommodation.

They hoped to build their secondary school and sixth form on land allocated for a primary school in Pitts Heath Lane, with a shared sports facility on the north of a proposed extension of Wharford Lane.

Alternatively, they are suggesting using land south of the extension.

The land, owned by the Homes and Communities Association, is a 5.12 acre plot reserved for a primary school.

Gerald Meehan, director for children and young people, told the executive board on Thursday that both proposals posed safety risks.

He said: “Children would have to cross a road to access sports facilities.

“The reasons we are rejecting these proposals are for practical difficulties.”

Clr John Stockton said: “Residents of that area are in for a huge shock.

“A small percentage of residents want this free school. A large percentage bought their homes on the premise that the land was reserved for a primary school.

“They would be surprised to find there could be many more buildings on it.”

The board resolved to inform the Department for Education that the proposed site is not suitable.

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