Plans for new Route 39 school at Steart Farm refused

16:29 04 September 2014

Protesters outside of the meeting at Bideford Town Hall today (Thursday).

Protesters outside of the meeting at Bideford Town Hall today (Thursday).

Archant

Permanent home for North Devon’s first free school was refused by Torridge District Council this afternoon (Thursday).

A PLANNING committee has refused permission for North Devon’s first free school – saying they support the idea but not the location.

Dangerous highways, sewerage and protecting the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) were the reasons given for refusing the Route 39 site at Steart Farm on the A39.

Torridge District Councillors tried to soften the blow this afternoon (Thursday) by saying they fully supported the ethos of the school but voted eight for refusing the planning application.

Councillor Chris Leather, the only councillor to vote in support of the plans, apologised to the parents and pupils for ‘delivering a real slap in the face’.

The proposals, recommended by planning officers for approval, included a school building for more than 700 pupils, which councillors were worried would also be unsustainable for the other schools in the area.

‘Location, location, location,’ was the overriding message with councillors feeling building in the AONB could set a dangerous precedent for other developers.

“I fully support this free school but I don’t see how you can educate children to protect this wonderful environment when they’re desecrating it,” said Cllr Howard Ratledge.

Cllr Jane Whittaker agreed and said it was ‘with regret’ that she would also have to refuse the application.

“Torridge never really got any big bucks for anything,” she said.

“Now we’ve got the offer of a free school and the investment that comes with it, but for me it is totally the wrong location.”

Councillor Mervyn Langmead raised concerns over the proposed crossing, saying that stretch of road was where cars usually overtook slow vehicles they were stuck behind.

“I think it’s an accident waiting to happen and I for one will not be putting my name to where there is a possibility of an accident.”

1 comment

  • Sigh - councillors should really stop referring to R39 as a 'free' school. It is anything but. I believe this was the right decision, but not necessarily for the right reasons. There is something FAR more fundamental to consider here; the original 'justification' for the school. From the laughably cynical method of gauging initial 'demand' for the school, to the squirming & twisting & distortions that followed, to the ever-changing declared 'ethos' that now tries to insist it HAS to be located in this spot... What are we teaching our children? How to distort the truth and manipulate others to gain what YOU want? That'll be an A* for R39.

    Report this comment

    Chippy

    Friday, September 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other News Stories

Work on Barnstaple's new TK Maxx store is continuing to progress. Picture: Andy Keeble

TK Maxx has announced that its new shop in Barnstaple will create 35 jobs.

Read more
09:37
Labour candidate for North Devon, Mark Cann

In the latest of our series of profiles, we meet Labour’s candidate for North Devon, Mark Cann

Read more
The dolphin washed up on Putsborough beach. Picture: Amanda Baldwin.

Dead dolphin found washed up on North Devon beach yesterday (Wednesday).

Read more
Marlene May with her new book. Picture: Sarah Howells

Marlene May, 77, is selling her new book at charity shop where she has worked for 18 years.

Read more
07:00
The Trumpton bonfire in Torrington is coming together.

Torrington Cavaliers get set for giant charity bonfire in August.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:09
Dave Garrett and Mark Edwards getting ready for the 100 mile challenge.

Bideford man prepared for epic 36-hour non-stop walk in aid of the Chemotherapy Appeal.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 9°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition



North Devon's trusted business finder