MP intervenes in Sheffield school row

Sheffield MP Clive Betts.
Sheffield MP Clive Betts.
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MP Clive Betts is set to intervene in a row over plans to build a new school in an inner-city Sheffield park.

Consultations on proposals to build a merged infant and junior school on Tinsley Recreation Ground have now concluded – but some residents are still unhappy.

A protest petition with more than 300 names has been collected and a meeting with Mr Betts and Coun Jackie Drayton, Sheffield Council cabinet member for young people and families, failed to allay concerns.

Mr Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, said he planned to write to everyone in the area to see how strong the opposition was.

He also plans to write to ministers to see if extra funding may be available to buy an alternative site.

He said: “My feeling is the council is between a rock and a hard place in this particular situation.

“Space is needed for the extra children living in the area. To move just the infants to the current Tinsley Green Sure Start centre in the park would mean children were being taught on three separate sites.

“Doing nothing is not an option as legally more places must be provided, so the option of a modern new school on one site must be ideal.

“At the moment, the money is not there to buy a new site, even if one could be found, so using the site of the current Sure Start centre is the other alternative.”

Mr Betts said building on the current Tinsley Juniors
site could not be considered
due to air pollution and noise from the nearby M1 – and
any plans to rebuild could be met by a legal challenge.

He said: “I understand there is some unhappiness over the park plans, but I believe three quarters of it would still remain.

“Some residents may still not be clear about the options, so I hope my letter will help clarify those.”

Council planners believe the current junior school site in Bawtry Road could be converted into an alternative green space for residents.

However, protesters say people will be unlikely to use a site created in the shadow of the M1.