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Burgess Hill Special Needs School

Burgess Hill Special Needs School Approved

10th December 2010
By Peter Chapman

Ladies and Gentlemen. It was always going to be a forgone conclusion, the West Sussex Planning Committee have finally approved plans for themselves to build the new special needs school on their own land. This will enable them to sell off the land on which Newick House school stands for housing and make a lovely profit.

In the future, when phase two of the development is completed, the council will also be able to sell off the land at Court Meadow school and make even more money.

The most prominent complaint was how the council appeared to ignore all other potential sites for the school when presented with a long list of reasons from the public for why the land at Oakmeeds wasn't the best choice on which to build the new school.

Land by the Triangle Leisure center, Victoria Business Park,The Abbotsford Pupil referral unit and redevelopment of Court Meadow were all suggested as alternative locations to Oakmeeds. The council chose to ignore all these possibilities and stuck with the location that would cause the most disruption and upset to those in the area.

The big losers in all of this are the pupils at Oakmeeds Community College.
Their lovely school field will essentially be chopped in half, ruining the beautiful scenery that can be viewed from the classrooms.

Break times on the field in the Summer will never be the same again, no more enjoying the shade of the oak trees.

The iconic running track, steeped in historic feats of great athletic ability, lost forever. In fact, there may not even be room to re site the track on the remaining land.

Burgess Hill School Plans
Our own artists impression - The proposed plans for the special school, taking up half of the Oakmeeds field.

An all-weather floodlit sports pitch will be installed on the field, members of the public will have the ability to book it for their own use outside of school hours and and weekends.
This addition to the landscape will ensure that the residents directly sited on the Oakmeeds boundary will never truly have any peace and quiet.

The public footpath that runs from Station road, through the school grounds and onto Chanctonbury road will be closed off, inconveniencing those that use the route as a quick and safe way of accessing the town centre.

Additionally, we can't be forgetting the loss of the hugely popular children's play park, a facility which Mid Sussex District Council have chosen not to have re sited in the area and will instead accept a payment from WSCC for the land.

Increased traffic from the new school is possibly going to have the biggest impact on the local area. It's a nightmare to travel along Chanctonbury Road during school start and finish times at the moment with cars forced to mount the pavement to let oncoming traffic pass due to all the commuters that park in the residential road. The road already serves as bus and driving test routes.

What's most disappointing in this whole situation is how the public consultation appeared to stand for nothing, although it's not surprising. The council let the people have their say, but that doesn't mean that they had to take their concerns on board and act on them.

Well done to all those that campaigned against the location of the new special school, for those that attended meetings and the residents that took the time to send emails and letters to West Sussex County Council. Its a shame your efforts were in vein.

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