SCHOOL: Why our group has objected

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I know that many people are asking why the South Morpeth Coalition (SMC) chose to object to the application for the first school rebuild on the County Hall site. I would like to explain the reasoning behind the decision.

SMC is very positive about the principle of a rebuild and relocation of the school, but we are uncertain that this proposed location is the best for it.

The master plan process required in the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan, which stressed the need for public involvement, would have addressed this issue and may have reached the conclusion that it is the best location, but without such a master plan we concluded that we had to object to this proposal as a matter of principle.

In addition, there are a great number of shortcomings in the information provided, leading to outstanding concerns, which means we could not reach a positive conclusion, and so must object.

We believe this project has been rushed, may be a mistake, and there could be better alternatives.

Residents who have posted objections themselves often identified alternative solutions, such as the former fire station/Merley Croft or the Riverside. Therefore, we could not maintain a neutral position and needed to be consistent in continuing to reflect the opinions of our supporters by objecting.

Jo-Anne Garrick, the consultant acting on behalf of SMC, filed an objection on our behalf on Monday, which detailed our concerns.

Please note that Joan Tebbutt, a member of the SMC Core Team, did not participate in SMC’s decision-making process on this application as she is Chairman of Governors of Morpeth First School.

David Holden

South Morpeth Coalition