Legal challenge over Sheffield school expansion

Plans to expand a Sheffield school's capacity from 180 to 630 pupils have been hit with a legal challenge '“ with residents insisting the process is '˜flawed'.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 2:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 2:53 pm
Ecclesall Infant School, High Storrs Road, Sheffield

Sheffield Council launched a consultation last month on plans to extend Ecclesall Infant School to address the area’s growing population.

The plans put forward include expanding the school by 90 places per year, starting next September, as well as widening the age range to take children up to age 11.

If approved, the plans would mean the school’s capacity increasing from 180 pupils to 630.

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But some have described the consultation, which ended this week, as ‘flawed’.

Andrew and Karen Staniforth, of High Storrs Crescent, sent a letter to Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, on Tuesday.

In the letter they claimed the consultation was unlawful and have requested that it be done again in September ‘properly’.

Mr Staniforth said: “Our position is that if the Ecclesall site is the most viable option, then we will support it.

“At the moment nobody knows if it’s the best option as the information is lacking. It just feels like the council is trying to railroad this through – even if it’s not the best option.

“As it’s going to cost £5 million of taxpayers’ money to expand the school, I would think everybody would want to know it was definitely the right thing.”

Residents said the consultation document did not address such issues as how the additional traffic and footfall would be handled and how much green space will be lost. The council was also criticised for not notifying all residents about the consultation via letter.

A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “We’ve had a good response [to the consultation] through emails, letters and at the four workshops we held with parents and local residents. We’re now going through all the responses in detail and will be coming back to the council’s cabinet in July to take stock and look at the next steps.”