Planners set to turn down Somerton school
Years of hard work within Somerton looks as if it is about to be undone. After long negotiations involving the Town Council, County Council and Church of England, plans had been set out for a new school in Somerton. The new build primary school would replace the current Infants school at Etsome Terrace and the Junior School on the other side of the town. The work was tied down by local MP David Warburton, County Councillor Dean Ruddle, and former head teacher David Norton.
Agreements to sell the existing sites to fund the new build school have all been arranged.
The site of the new school agreed on as being at the end of Northfields.
Now South Somerset District Council planners have come out recommending refusal of planning permission. Although Highways matters are primarily for County Council, SSDC have used their view of traffic and access to turn the application down. Even though Highways issues are not actually their primary remit and they are supposed to seek County Council advice on Highways matters.
They claim “It has not been adequately demonstrated that the proposal, as a result of its location, the substandard nature of the approach roads and the lack of pedestrian and cycle provision, will not result in an unacceptable level of congestion on the local highway network or bring pedestrians / cyclists into unacceptable conflict with other road users.”
The most staggering feature of this decision is the breakdown of communication. The District Council have been aware of the school plans for as long as SCC have. The planned site for the school was also well known.
So the key question is why has this issue not been addressed between the 2 authorities before even getting to planning approval stage?
Is it possible that one council is simply point scoring off the other?
This situation could have been avoided.
Residents of Somerton will be asking themselves why the councils have not avoided it.
Although the SSDC Planning Team have recommended refusal, the final decision will be made by your elected councillors who sit on the Area North Committee. This meets on Wednesday 26th June at 2.00 pm at the SSDC offices Brympton Way, Yeovil. Residents can attend and may speak for up to 3 minutes to give their views.