Trafford presses on with Altrincham school redevelopment
The council has advanced plans to amalgamate two Stamford Park schools into one, bringing both into a new building of around 33,000 sq ft, despite an initial consultation showing disagreement between local residents and parents over the proposals.
The current Stamford Park Infant School and Stamford Park Junior School on Cedar Road date from the early 1900s, and according to the council, the condition of the buildings is “deteriorating” with the existing schools currently below the size standards set by the Government.
Under the plans, which are to go to a formal consultation, Trafford Council plans to shut both existing schools, and build a new school of a minimum of 33,000 sq ft in size, around 8,500 sq ft larger than the existing school buildings.
The new school is to be built on the existing playing fields at Queens Road in an effort to minimise disruption; under the initial plan shared by the council, the new facility is set to open in time for the 2021/2022 school term.
Trafford’s executive is set to sign off a formal consultation process next week; following this, the executive will approve the full case for the school in March next year, with the recruitment for a new head of school starting in September 2020.
The school will be funded through the council’s Basic Need Grant; the authority is using consultant Amey for the design phase, with pre-planning costs of around £400,000 to £500,000 expected.
Other options considered by the council include an alternative option to create additional school places at The Willows Primary School, but Trafford said this would “not create as many additional places and may not meet the needs of as many families, due to a less central location not providing places within reasonable distance for anyone residing in the furthest edges of the planning area.”
Informal consultation has already taken place; the school has attracted support from parents but opposition from local residents, while the proposals have been backed by the governing body of the infant school, but not by the governing body of the junior school.
Instead of a new-build school, the junior school has set out its preference to become independent of local authority control.
Results from the informal consultation show that 82% of respondents that identified themselves of parents supported the proposals, while 70% of local residents opposed the plan. Most of those supporting the scheme cited improved school facilities and an improved learning experience as their reasons for backing the new school.
According to the consultation, 45% of those opposed to the scheme said they wanted to “preserve the existing heritage buildings” at the school, despite the infant school itself saying the facilities were “substandard”. Other opposition centres around an impact on parking due to increased pupil numbers.
Support from those identifying as school staff was mixed, with 56% in support and 44% opposed.
A formal consultation process is set to begin once approved by the council on 19 August.