Teenager speaks out against controversial plans for school in Sheffield park

Adil Mohammed, aged 13
Adil Mohammed, aged 13
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A schoolboy spoke out against objections to plans to build a super-school on a Sheffield park – but councillors still backed it.

Thirteen-year-old Adil Mohammed was one of three people who spoke against the plans to refurbish and extend a centre on Tinsley Recreation Ground to create a new school for 700 pupils.

The Brinsworth School pupil was allowed the afternoon off school to speak at yesterday’s meeting of Sheffield Council’s planning and highways committee.

He said: “This proposal has angered many local residents who feel the council has not listened to their concerns.

“At a time when other green spaces in the city have been protected, it appears Tinsley residents will have to lose part of their only public green space forever.”

He also asked for the existing youth centre to be expanded to compensate.

After a lengthy debate, councillors agreed on balance to approve the plan and a separate application to knock down the existing Tinsley Junior School on Bawtry Road and use that site as public open space.

The council says the change is needed to move pupils away from the M1, to reduce the associated ‘negative health effects’ from pollution and also to tackle a lack of school places.

However, Muxafar Raham said there were other ‘prime locations’ where the school could have been built, the park was ‘treasured’ and he believed the only reason it was being moved was because of an Ikea store opening nearby and the HS2 high-speed rail project going through Tinsley.

Officers said other locations had been ‘vigorously’ assessed, but were unsuitable and the Ikea claims were incorrect.

Councillors said it was a ‘difficult’ decision because of the loss of green space.

Coun Bryan Lodge said: “I think on balance there will be more open space and we will be guarding future generations from the damage to their health.”

Councillors voted six to five to approve the scheme.