Surprise move means Rokeby Primary can stay put

There was some surprise news for Rokeby Primary School staff, pupils and parents as they headed towards half-term.

Friday, 27th May 2016, 4:05 pm
Updated Friday, 27th May 2016, 5:08 pm
Rokeby protesters earlier this week worried about digging taking place on the field NNL-160525-140540001

In a major change to the controversial plans which envisage two new schools coming to the area, Rokeby Primary will no longer be forced from its current building to a new site next door.

The news was broken by County Councillor Kam Kaur in a new update to minutes of the area forum from March and also in a flyer put through people’s doors.

In the update circulated with the forum minutes, Cllr Kaur said: “It has now been confirmed that the former infant school buildings will not be demolished as originally planned, but will be refurbished to act as a temporary home for the new secondary school.

“Following feedback from local residents, including through the Area Forum meeting and from the school, and following further discussions with the Education Funding Agency (EFA), it has been agreed that the proposed scheme will be amended as follows:

- Rokeby Primary School will remain in its current buildings, with some additional off road parking / drop off. There are no plans to expand the school at this time.

- A planning application for the new special school and secondary school will be submitted by the EFA with plans to build the special school on the site which had originally been allocated for the re-located primary school.

“I have spoken to many local residents in recent weeks and months and I have raised any concerns expressed to me with the EFA and officers at the County Council.”

At the forum meeting there was great conceren about the primary school being forced to move to a site which parents feared might not offer the same facilities as the current building, including its farm and outdoor areas.

Parent and campaigner Abbie Robson said: “We are pleased and relieved we are not going to lose the school we’ve worked so hard for.

“But it still doesn’t calm our fears on the overall plans.”

She added that campaign group SHARE (Sustainable Hillside and Rokeby Education) agreed with the need for more secondary places but still insisted Rokeby Field was the wrong side of town.

She told the Advertiser: “It’s just not going to be in the right place, not just for the sake of Rokeby estate but for the people to the north of the town who need the places.”

Residents remain aggrieved that the decision to put Rugby Free Secondary School and the Macintyre Free Special School at Rokeby was thrust upon the area without any chance for consultation.

While their protests appear to have had some impact on plans for the existing school the next key stage will be when the planning application comes along.

Cllr Kaur added in her update: “Warwickshire County Council has not yet received a planning application and, while the time-scale may change, the Council does not currently expect one to be submitted until the autumn.”

In the meantime Rugby Free Secondary will open in its temporary home this September.

In terms of the works which have taken place on Rokeby Field this week as part of the preparation for an application, the Education Funding Agency has assured nearby residents the field will be fully returned to its previous condition.