Thank you to everyone who has signed my petition in support of building the new school in Leckhampton, providing vital school places for young people across the south of Cheltenham and beyond. If you haven't signed the petition yet, you can find it here.
I was disturbed to learn that there are moves to call for a judicial review that could delay a much-needed new school in Leckhampton.
Thousands of families across the south of Cheltenham are desperate for local school places for their children. After years of back and forth, we finally have the opportunity with this new development in Leckhampton to provide those places and secure the educational future of young people across Cheltenham for years to come.
A new development in the south of Cheltenham can help cut the number of unnecessary car journeys across town, giving young people the chance to safely walk and cycle to school. We’ll keep fighting for sustainable transport solutions across town, including around schools.
My colleague Cllr Iain Dobie and I have written to Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the School System, asking her to do all she can to bring about a swift resolution to this issue.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: School places in South Cheltenham
Dear Baroness Berridge,
The shortage of school places in south Cheltenham has been well-known for some years. The matter has been a cause of concern for parents, who have called for action. We have supported those calls for the provision of new places and welcomed the belated application for a new school when it arrived from GCC.
Indeed, we both called for the allocation of a school site as part of the Cheltenham Plan and supported its inclusion.
We recognise the urgent need for the school to be built and support the current planning application, which has been approved by Gloucestershire County Council. We also hope that the county council and the school will work together on sustainable transport solutions to the satisfaction of the community and to improve the local environment, as well as the health of pupils.
However, we are deeply concerned about the Judicial Review launched against the school planning application. Any delay to the development will significantly and unacceptably disrupt the lives of hundreds of families.
While we accept that political interference in the outcome of a judicial process is not appropriate, we urge you to do all you can to bring about a swift resolution to this issue. It is causing huge and unnecessary anxiety to very many people at a time when communities are already under stress.
For a copy of the text of a petition which has gathered almost 700 signatures from concerned members of the community, please visit: maxwilkinson.org/leckhamptonnewschool
Local parents will not stand idly by while their children’s futures are put at risk by a delayed judicial process. We trust that you will support their efforts.
Cllr Iain Dobie
Division member for Leckhampton and Warden Hill
Cllr Max Wilkinson
Cabinet member for Climate and Communities