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

7 minutes ago
North Devon Hospice fundraiser Emma Lowe gets acquainted with a crayfish and a hake, some of the stars of Geoff Morton’s menu at Fat Belly Fred's fish restaurant in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Top local producers to showcase a cornucopia of coastal delights at Barnstaple Pannier Market.

Read more
Nick Harvey (left) launches his re-election campaign with North Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade

Nick Harvey has launched his re-election campaign for the General Election on May 7.

Read more
11:15
Cancer patient Alan Ford draws the winning ticket with a little help from Gazette publisher Graham Harris, Chemotherapy Appeal fundraising manager Ian Roome, County Garages Group marketing director Andy Witherington, Parkside Kia sales manager John Kuczer. Picture: Andy Keeble

Barnstaple man wins brand new Kia Picanto in Chemotherapy Appeal’s Grand Car Raffle.

Read more
36 minutes ago
British Hen Welfare Trust founder Jane Howorth with 'Liberty'. Picture: Submitted

Egg-citing time as charity looks forward to re-homing its 500,000th hen.

Read more
13:18
Mini Egg fun minus the chocolate at Exmoor Zoo. Picture: John Hammond

Include your animal friends at Easter, but don’t harm them by giving them sweets, says Bratton Fleming attraction

Read more
Is Verity Two coming to Lundy Island?

From Verity Two to another new Westward Ho! hotel - North Devon pranksters pull out the stops this April Fools.

Read more
12:23
The Ilfracombe inshore lifeboat returns to shore after Tuesday's shout. Picture: RNLI/Ilfracombe

Lifeboat unable to save vessel after she took on water while at mooring

Read more
Janet James, from Landkey, receiving a bouquet from lead cancer nurse Charlotte Overney.

Janet James, from Landkey, was the first patient to be treated at the brand new chemotherapy unit in Barnstaple.

Read more
10:35
Rich and Freddie Barrow helped reunite Princess with her owner. Pictures: Submitted

Princess reunited with Buckland Brewer owner after unplanned trip with Barrow Clark drivers.

Read more
Join the Torridge election candidates tonight from 7pm-9pm on the Gazette website.

Tune in from 7pm - 9pm tonight and ask the Torridge and West Devon election candidates anything.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 7°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