Heritage group drops opposition to new Nelson school

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PLANS for a new infant school and nursery in the Whitefield Ward of Nelson look set to go ahead after opposition to the idea by heritage campaigners have been withdrawn.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson welcomed the news “SAVE Britain’s Heritage” have dropped their attempt to stop the building of Whitefield Infant School on the old water works site in Every Street.

On Wednesday, SAVE told the school and Lancashire County Council they were withdrawing their objection.

Mr Stephenson, who has remained a governor at Whitefield Infant School since being elected as Pendle’s MP, said: “SAVE’s attempt to stop the building of this school at the last minute was a huge blow to the community, so I am delighted their objections have been withdrawn.

“They did not know the area or have the best interests of the community and its children at heart. Sadly, despite their objections being withdrawn, their actions have caused a delay as the original planning consent has been quashed and the new school will need planning permission to be granted again on April 18th.

“I hope local councillors will take the right decision again at that meeting and we can get on with building a new school, which is desperately needed for local children.”

Plans for building the new £3.5m. school have been subjected to a number of delays. Objections by English Heritage and Heritage Trust North West to the number of derelict properties that would be demolished on the new school site were overcome.

The new school plans were finally approved by the county council unanimously in July, 2011, and have the full backing of Pendle Council.

However, SAVE Britain’s Heritage then applied for a judicial review to quash the grant of planning permission and stop the redevelopment of the Every Street site. This led to the planning permission being quashed and is the reason the county council is having to apply for planning permission again.

At the time of SAVE’s initial intervention, Andrew said: “I am deeply saddened by this last-minute attempt to block the school, which will cause alarm among teachers and parents. The designers have gone out of their way to protect local heritage and the new school will be a catalyst for speeding up the regeneration of neighbouring streets.”

But he now said: “If planning is granted on April 18th, it is hoped the new school could be built by October, 2013.”