A POLITICAL row has broken out over a possible site for a new secondary school in Poole.
Land earmarked for education use on the edge of Creekmoor was axed after opposition councillors voted it down at full council.
“Mad and in completely the wrong place,” said an opposition Liberal Democrat, while a member of the Conservative cabinet labelled their actions “totally irresponsible”.
Three possible sites were put forward for a £45-55million secondary school which will be required by 2018 and now two remain for further investigation.
They are the Bournemouth and Poole College site at Constitution Hill Road and the Dolphin Swimming Pool and car park in Kingland Road.
An amendment put forward by Cllr Phil Eades to axe the Creekmoor site was approved by 19 votes to 16 with one abstention.
“It is absolutely mad and in completely the wrong place,” said Cllr Eades.
“The demand for additional secondary school places is coming particularly from Lower Parkstone and it makes absolutely no sense to place another school in the outer reaches of the borough with no existing cycle lanes or bus routes to enable students to access the school.
“Not only this, it is greenfield land that benefits everybody, particularly local residents of Creekmoor.”
He said not pursuing it would save the cash-strapped council £230,000. However, Cllr Mike White, cabinet member for regeneration, said it would save a portion of the £700,000 budget but it was not known how much. “I think what they have done is totally irresponsible,” he said. “It shows that the Liberal Democrats can’t be trusted.”
He said their three representatives had voted for it at the schools capital board.
“We have almost certainly got to find a new secondary school,” he said. Constitution Hill would be next to the new junior school and there would be traffic issues and the Dolphin Swimming Pool site was restricted in size.
“I am disappointed that despite an awful lot of work by an awful lot of people it has not been allowed to go forward,” he said.
• Ward members shocked
Creekmoor councillor Judy Butt said she and her fellow ward members were shocked when the site north of Upton Road was voted down.
“It may not have been the right site but it should not have been knocked out of the equation,” she said.
“It gave the people of Poole a wider choice. We were very disappointed when this was something positive for the people of Creekmoor to be consulted on.
"That has been removed from them.”