Angry accusations over Hatfield special school
- Credit: Archant
Angry critics have accused County Hall of “deception” and “bully-boy tactics” over the future of a school for pupils with special needs.
A county council education committee has approved a request by governors at Southfield School to stay in its new buildings on a former playing field off Woods Avenue, rather than return to Travellers Lane, where a huge waste incinerator is planned.
Because Government guidelines protect playing fields, a five-year time limit was originally specified in planning permission for the new buildings, where the school opened in September.
Youngsters with autism and other medical conditions are taught at Southfield.
But after hearing from officers the headteacher was very happy with the school’s new home.
You may also want to watch:
Last week’s committee agreed to support a permanent move.
Opposition councillors voted against it, arguing the council was using underhand tactics to dodge criticism of the loss of playing fields and the traffic impact.
- 1 Dangerous Welwyn Garden City domestic abuser who slashed ex-girlfriend's throat jailed
- 2 Safety check and risk assessment failings for hundreds of Welwyn Hatfield council houses
- 3 When is Team GB cycling star Laura Kenny in action at Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
- 4 The latest court results for Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar
- 5 Community reacts to closure of overnight Urgent Care Centre service at New QEII Hospital
- 6 Water safety advice issued following lake drowning
- 7 New report reveals 28 Covid deaths at Hatfield care home
- 8 9 things you didn’t know about the making of Band of Brothers
- 9 Henry Moore Foundation in Hertfordshire appears in new Fake or Fortune? series on BBC One
- 10 The changing nature of Potters Bar high street
Lib Dem Paul Zukowskyj, who represents Hatfield South, fumed: “I will fight this as far as I can.
“This kind of devious and underhand approach is what gives politicians a bad name.
“If you want to instil trust in residents, don’t do this.
“This is what my residents expected to happen right from the start.”
Labour councillor Dreda Gordon, a former teacher at the school, said although she did not want it to operate next to a waste incinerator, the council was using “bully-boy tactics”.
But director of education Justin Donovan rejected the accusations, protesting it was the first time in 10 years he had been accused of lying.
He said refusing the application would have been the “easy thing to do”, but he had witnessed how the new buildings were ideal for autistic children, and creating links with nearby schools.
He said: “Purely on educational grounds, this is something we ought to support.”
The committee voted to ask the cabinet to back the move, although it may need the borough council to change planning guidance.
Have your say. Email email@example.com