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'Balance must be struck' between creating more school places in Enfield and preserving green spaces says residents association chairman
The battle between those wanting to create more school places and others hoping to preserve green spaces sets to continue as many fume about the latest school proposals.
“A fine balance must be struck” said Grovelands Residents Association chairman Christopher Binns after proposals were made to expand a primary school on green space beside The Priory Hospital in The Bourne, Southgate and Grovelands Park by 2016.
The new site will hold 420 pupils and staff, helping to diminish fears over a shortage of school spaces in Enfield.
But at a consultation meeting on Wednesday, September 25, residents were sceptical abou the location of the possible school.
Concerns over the expansion of George Spicer Primary School in Southbury Road, Enfield, were echoed by those who attended the consultation, fearing the same could happen to their park.
Mr Binns added: “Of course we want to see school places increase in the area, but not at the expense of green space when there are other options.
“This part of the park is an enormous secluded area where all sorts of wildlife lives. We don’t want to come across selfish but green spaces are crucial in Enfield. This borough has some beautiful parks and we don’t want that to be changed.”
At the meeting in Methodist Church Hall in The Bourne, Southgate, Enfield Borough Council's assistant director of regeneration, leisure and libraries Garry Barnes assured attendees that the new school site would not jeopardise the park’s scenery.
However the rationale behind putting a school in this space has bemused the chairman of the residents association.
He said: “Why are there proposals to build a school here when there is a perfectly good space at Minchenden School which has been mothballed. That space is designed for a school and I don’t understand why it hasn’t been considered yet.
“Of course, we are still in the very early stages of discussions and its important stress that the association are not against new schools but we want the council to be building in suitable spaces which are not affecting green land and are in areas which need it most.”
Enfield Council’s cabinet member for children and young people Councillor Ayfer Orhan, said: “As part of our plan to provide enough primary school places in the areas they are needed most. We have identified a number of potential sites of which the site adjacent to Grovelands Park is one.
“We are only at concept stage at this time and there is a considerable amount of work required with all stakeholders including English Heritage before the council can even consider developing formal ideas. However, the council is committed to gathering the views of local people on the proposals.
“This area is particularly deficient in primary school places and it is important to hear the views of all residents, those interested in protecting green spaces as well as those interested in being able to find a local primary school places for their children. Whether or not we proceed with the scheme the Council is keen for people to come forward and let us know what they think of it.
“Any scheme we do decide to take forward will seek to minimise the impact on people living nearby while aiming to provide first rate school facilities for our school children in the areas they are most needed.”
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