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Residents’ plea: don’t put new primary school at the bottom of our garden
ANXIOUS residents have spoken out against plans for a new primary school “at the bottom of the garden”.
They fear the proposed Avonwood Primary will lead to excessive noise and disruption and said it could easily be built further away from the boundaries of their properties.
There are also fears the school, due to open in September next year, will cause further traffic problems in the built-up area.
The school will be built in the grounds of Avonbourne and Harewood Colleges in Harewood Avenue as Bournemouth council struggles to cope with an increased demand for primary places in the borough.
The land is currently open space with the colleges hundreds of metres from the homes.
Russ and Alison Johns stressed they were not against the building of the school but urged Bournemouth council and those behind it to take account of their concerns.
“We have not been consulted about this but have found out that the playground will be on the other side of our fence,” said Mr Johns.
“We will be able to look straight into the classrooms, which is unnecessary because the site is big and it could be further away from the existing homes.”
Mrs Johns added: “We appreciate there is a need for a school but the impact is going to be massive.”
The couple have joined forces with neighbours in a bid to get their voices heard and have urged Bournemouth council to “slow down, consult with residents and look at all the options available.”
They have also asked for a full traffic survey in Harewood Avenue, already subject to a 20mph limit and with speed humps due to the presence of the colleges.
“Harewood Avenue is already at breaking point,” added Mr Johns.
“From our experience, it is a fact that parents drive their children to school at that age.”
A report will go to Bournemouth council’s cabinet on Wednesday December 18 where it is expected funding will be approved as part of the Capital Programme.
'We want to work with community'
Debbie Godfrey-Phaure, executive headteacher of Avonbourne Trust, said: “The school building is a single storey and curved design to minimise the impact of its appearance in the local area. Landscaping and planting will soften the building's appearance.
“We are also looking at a new dedicated access route and drop-off point for parents travelling to the school by car that is separate to the secondary school’s. We are also proposing to operate staggered opening and closing times to further minimise the impact of school travel in the area.
“Traffic surveys are ongoing and will be completed before we submit a planning application. The trust is very thankful for the very useful and positive feedback we have received so far.”
Two newsletters had been sent out to residents within a square mile of the school and a public consultation had been advertised in the Daily Echo and the Advertiser.
“We very much want to work with the whole community on building an excellent school that will provide much needed primary places and that takes into account our role as a good neighbour.”
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