Chiefs slam ‘short-sighted’ school plans

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PROPOSALS that will see a school “double in size” have been condemned by governors who described them as “short-sighted” in a new report.

Chiefs at Greenway First and Nursery School say Herts County Council has failed to properly explain the plans to parents.

In their response to the council’s consultation on expansion proposals governors say a council-commissioned report into school traffic was based on ‘flawed/inaccurate data’ and conducted on a day when there was snow, roadworks and fewer cars than usual.

They claim this gave investigators the biased view that there would be a ‘very manageable’ 44 to 51 extra cars going to the site each day.

The school in Crossways, Berkhamsted, has already boosted numbers from 45 to 60 pupils per year with building work to accommodate the extra numbers completed last year.

But the latest plans under consultation, which ends on Monday, proposes increasing pupils by a further 30 per year.

The governors’ response states: “There has been no clear explanation from HCC in its initial consultation letter that... HCC is proposing that the school doubles in size.”

Berkhamsted Town Council agreed to oppose plans at a meeting of its planning committee on Monday.

Wendy Conian spoke out for the Berkhamsted Parents Association, set up last year when it became clear that school places in the town were running out.

She said: “The highways and safety issues are a huge concern for parents and children and I really do not think they are being taken seriously by county.”

Councillor Stephen Bateman described the proposal as ridiculous and said: “I think Herts County Council is out of touch.”

Robert Williams, chairman of governors at Berkhamsted’s Westfield First School – also earmarked for expansion – said parents had received little detail of how new housing would affect school places.

To have your say, complete the consultation form at Forms are also available at libraries or by calling 01438 737350.