A SCHEME has been unveiled to demolish a Bowdon primary school and replace it with a two-storey facility accommodating more than 600 pupils.
The school contend the expansion is necessary as the school is so over-subscribed it cannot offer places to children who live ‘across the road’, but neighbouring sports clubs have claimed 600 children could be denied access to sports facilities as a result.
Bowdon Church of England Primary School, on Grange Road, is currently a two form entry school with 420 pupils on its roll, but if Trafford Council’s proposal is accepted, the school would become three form entry, increasing its student roll by 210 places.
Bowdon Cricket Hockey and Squash Club and Hale United Junior Football Club currently use a cricket ground and two football pitches on a field next to the school, but have expressed fears that they will no longer be able to if plans go ahead.
David Bellin, chairman of the Bowdon Club, said: “There is ample space to build a new school and preserve the existing cricket ground and football pitches but further consultation is essential.
“Although we have had one meeting with the school and Trafford, no compromise was forthcoming.”
However headteacher, Sharon Martin, said the field has to be fenced off as it is currently open which creates safeguarding issues in terms of supervising children and the school also suffers from dog walkers who do not clear up their animals’ mess.
“But we are very involved with our fantastic community and one third of the field will remain available for sports and community use,” she said.
Mrs Martin also sought to allay traffic concerns raised by a number of residents, stating that four walking busses will be in operation, a new drop off area will be situated within the school and pointed out that the new school places will be for children in the immediate area, who will not be driven to school.
Council leader and ward councillor, Sean Anstee, said: “I am aware of the proposals to rebuild Bowdon Church of England School to provide much needed additional places to meet increasing demand, which is partly due to the increase in the catchment area as referenced in the planning application.
“In addition, I understand some of the potential issues regarding car parking and the recreational space to the rear of the school.
“It is important to me that a new school becomes a future asset that complements the other facilities in the area including the Bowdon Cricket, Hockey and Squash Club.”
In plans submitted to the council’s planning committee, the 50-year-old school is said to have ‘exceeded its design life’, with staff and pupils existing in a ‘poor environment with leaking flat roofs, condensation and poor thermal insulation’.
The report also highlights that neighbouring school, Bollin Primary, has recently expanded to two forms of entry with no scope to expand further and Stamford Park Infant and Junior Schools have an intake of 70 and are not suitable sites for expansion.