Fremington councillors have welcomed proposals for a new school in the parish – but not at Tews Lane.
The parish council meeting resolved to support the need for a new school to serve Roundswell, but felt Tews Lane was not suitable due to traffic problems and urged Devon County Council to consider an alternative site.
This is only a recommendation for refusal and the final decision rests with North Devon Council’s planning committee.
The proposal from the Tarka Learning Partnership seeks to create a 420-place school on the edge of the Mont Bray development.
The two storey building will have specialist science and art areas, a multi-activity studio, library and a 39-place nursery.
Outside there will be sports pitches, a multi-use games area and an environmental area.
Roundswell Residents’ association has objected strongly to the plans, saying it did not object to a school but would inflict traffic chaos and misery on an area that already suffered from gridlock.
Councillor Rodney Cann told the meeting the school was needed but would be in the wrong place, creating a ‘perfect storm’ gridlock.
He said the county council already owned a site – understood to be near Sainsbury’s - which it deems unsuitable because there is an aerial nearby and it is instead looking to use it for residential development.
He felt a more appropriate site for the school would be at Larkbeare.
County councillor Frank Biederman said the site has now been allocated in the local plan and there had been no objections at the time, making it difficult to fight now.
He said he had concerns about the traffic plan because he had been led to believe the turning circle at the new school would be a drop off point, but now he understands this is not the case.
He said the council could make representations but as yet the full detailed planning application had not been received. He felt there would always be opposition, wherever the school was sited.
The council resolved to ask DCC as a matter of urgency to consider alternative sites which will also serve Larkbear, ‘to ensure a quality of life for those in Bickington and Roundswell’.
Cllr Cann’s motion to express support for a school but refuse the proposed site was approved, with three abstentions. Cllr Biederman’s amendment for the council to make strong recommendations it would only support the proposal if it had safe traffic plan was not seconded.