Running up legal bills as a consequence of failing a statutory duty to meet school place demand must be avoided, say Torbay’s Liberal Democrat councillors. The council will debate and decide on whether to give the go-ahead for a new primary school to be built off Brookfield Close on Thursday 21st July.
According to Liberal Democrat Paignton councillor Adrian Sanders: “The real issue is the one that dogs every decision the council has to make nowadays - how to cope with cuts to the budget following the election of a government backed by local MPs committed to slashing it year on year.
At the same time the council has to follow the law and provide places for an increase in pupils, but hasn’t got the money to buy land so has to use what it already owns.
Officers have looked long and hard to find alternative sites to Brookfield that are owned by the council, located within or close to where evidence shows future demand will arise, and can be secured within a short time-scale."
“All the evidence leads to the Brookfield site that has now opened up since demolition of the housing and communal block at the end of Brookfield Close,” says Group Liberal Democrat Spokeswoman on Children, Cindy Stocks.
“A much larger footprint and access point has become available and for minimal cost can help the Council fulfil its statutory duty to meet school place demand. The figures back up the need and the location is not inconvenient for where the parents are likely to come from."
The councillors accept there will be highways issues but claim these are not insurmountable. They will be calling on the council for early consultation with people in the locality to allay any such concerns.