LANESHAW BRIDGE: Opposition grows to new primary school plans

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COLNE councillors will be writing to Lancashire County Council opposing plans to demolish Laneshaw Bridge Primary School and build a larger replacement.

Members of Pendle Council’s Colne and District Committee gave their backing to residents opposing the scheme, concerned the expansion would be detrimental to villagers and other primary schools.

The plans include the demolition of the existing primary school off Emmott Lane and construction of a new single storey school with facilities including a grass football field, playground and car park.

Supporters say the expansion is necessary to cater for an increase in demand for places and provide modern facilities.

But the committee heard from resident Mark Rawstron who spoke on behalf of 300 villagers opposed to the proposal for a new school.

“Planning policy dictates any proposal must be small scale to meet demonstrable need. But this proposal is not small scale, it is 12 times the size of the existing site and equates to 14% of the total area of the village” he said.

“The applicant has also not demonstrated need, 75% of pupils attending the school are from outside the village, the pupils do not need to attend this school.”

Coun. Tony Greaves agreed the current school building was capable of supporting children in the village.

“The Victorian building is well designed and can adapt to modern use if money is invested in it, there is no need to knock it down and build another school.

“An expansion of Laneshaw Bridge School would only be at the detriment of other schools in the Colne area as it would reduce the number of children attending them and reduce the budget available to them.”

Residents and councillors also expressed concerns over highway safety if the proposed expansion goes ahead.

Mr Rawstron said: “There are no travel alternatives to the school other than by car.

“The existing school generates over 500 vehicle movements a day and this will increase significantly if the new school is built.

“The traffic imported into the village by the school already directly affects residential amenity. Emmott Lane is a single track road which links to Keighley Road at a blind corner. An increase in traffic, given the road capacity and a main blind corner junction will generate a real danger.”

Councillors agreed the proposal was misconceived in terms of policy and there were good planning grounds for refusal.

Lancashire County Council’s development and control committee have resolved to defer the proposal until they have completed a site visit.