Campaign to block Hertfordshire village school plan
PUBLISHED: 09:50 29 January 2011
A BACKLASH has started against controversial plans to build a new secondary school in a village.
"Even though there is apparently no funds, now they decide to waste millions building a new school in Woolmer Green, when there is still a perfectly good one in Stevenage [Heathcote] with a closure notice on it. "
Residents in Woolmer Green and Knebworth were this week united in their opposition to the We Need A School (WNAS) campaign, which proposes to build a secondary school in Knebworth or Woolmer Green for children living in the villages and the surrounding area.
The campaign was given a boost last week, when Education Secretary Michael Gove gave the scheme a provisional go-ahead under his Free Schools programme, as reported in the Welwyn Hatfield Times.
But opponents of the campaign have blasted both the Government and WNAS, for supporting what they believe is an uneccessary development in an area that already has sufficient school provision.
Kay Bond, of the Preserve Knebworth campaign, said she was “disgusted” with both the old Labour Government and the current Coalition’s education policies.
She said: “Even though there is apparently no funds, now they decide to waste millions building a new school in Woolmer Green, when there is still a perfectly good one in Stevenage [Heathcote] with a closure notice on it.
“Hundreds don’t want Heathcote to close and hundreds don’t want a school in Woolmer Green – for an Education Department not to be able to add two and two, it makes you wonder which schools they attended.”
And in a letter to the Welwyn Hatfield Times, Woolmer Green resident Kevin Fitzgerald criticised WNAS, accusing the group of “misleading” the public in its claims that a school for 800 pupils would not cause traffic problems.
“So far this group has had it all their own way with meetings with Government Ministers and wide publicity, whilst those whose lives will be most directly affected have been largely kept in the dark,” he wrote.
“Well the cat is now out of the bag in Woolmer Green and the fight to beat off this threat is about to begin.”