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Guiseley campaigners win school expansion fight
12:54pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in Local news
Unpopular plans to expand two Guiseley schools will not now go ahead after councillors agreed to go back to the drawing board.
The proposals for Guiseley Infant and Nursery School and St Oswald’s C of E Junior School had prompted a campaign of opposition.
A report to Leeds City Council’s Executive Board yesterday recommended not proceeding with the proposals. Instead it said there should be further consultation in a bid to find a solution to the growing need for places.
That recommendation has now been formally approved to the delight of campaigners.
After the recommendation was released last week Joanna Ainsworth from GINS (The Guiseley Infant and Nursery Action Group) said it appeared to be a very positive step forward.
“GINS AG had suggested to the council that holding a ‘forum’ type event to let all parties discuss the issues and propose possible solutions would be the only effective method for engaging with the community as a whole. This seems to be the direction they are now moving in,” she said.
The area’s three councillors also welcomed the recommendation Councillor Pat Latty said: “I am pleased that the Council has listened to our concerns and will not be permanently expanding these schools.
“We urgently need more school places in our area, but it is important to ensure that we provide the right places for our children and the community as a whole. It is not acceptable to select an option just because it will make life easier for the Council.”
Councillor Paul Wadsworth argued the case for a new school, which he said would ensure fewer impacts on the local road network, making it safer for children to travel to and from it.
Councillor Graham Latty added: “We are happy to work with the Council as it explores the alternatives in an effort to find a solution that will be acceptable – for everyone for the children, their parents, the teachers and the local community. It is important that the issue is considered as a whole rather than just small parts of a bigger problem looked at in isolation.”
The proposals would have seen capacity increasing from 270 pupils to 420 at Guiseley Infant and Nursery School. Its age range would have changed from three to seven to three to 11. St Oswald’s Church of England Junior School would have expanded its capacity from 360 pupils to 420 and widened the age range from seven to 11 to five to 11 with effect from September 2015.
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