LETTER: Lancashire County Council will decide future of Laneshaw Bridge School

TO residents of Laneshaw Bridge and beyond, I would like to respond to the numerous recent letters and put some rumours to rest and also state some actual facts.

Firstly, I would like to respond to last week’s letter from Paul White. If we are talking about facts, maybe it is time Mr White declared he has an interest in the school, in that his mother and sister work there and also run the pre- and after-school classes, which I understand are chargeable to parents. Parish councillors that had any interest whatsoever in the school had to declare their interest at meetings and therefore were not allowed to offer any opinion, so surely anyone else with any sort of interest in the school should do the same.

Secondly, I would like to respond to the letter from Steve Clark of Azzurri Communications. Mark Rawstron is not leading the campaign for supporters against the proposed new school, but he is a person with the knowledge regarding planning applications and the breaches of such applications.

It saddens me that supporters of the “Yes” campaign have had to resort to personal slurs against Mr Rawstron. He may have an 70-mile round trip to Manchester to work, but he also works out of the Leeds and other offices and his wife works locally. If they moved to Manchester, his wife would have to travel the same distance to her work. Where do you suggest they live to reduce their carbon footprint?

Local residents were not consulted fully on this application due to the fact the parish council was under the impression the application was for an extension to the existing school and therefore did not deem it necessary to involve locals. Once the true extent of proposals was made clear, they unanimously voted to object to the planning application, as did Pendle Council.

Fact. The school kitchen was closed down by the headteacher to create a store room. Hot meals were then delivered to the school, but the headteacher decided to discontinue this service, apparently because the meals weren’t hot enough. Kids, if you’re sick of eating cold food at your desk see your headteacher - I’m sure she will explain!

Thirdly, I would like to address the letter from Mr and Mrs Saunders of Trawden. What planet are you on? I quote: “No” posters in residents’ windows not only posed a danger to road safety......”. Do Mr and Mrs S. not think numerous cars, wagons, tractors, etc. travelling up and down Emmott Lane every day pose a greater threat to their children than an orange poster in a window? On the point of doorstep harassment tactics by the “No” campaigners, this is completely absurd. I would welcome proof of any underhand “tactics”.

Laneshaw Bridge School is, without a doubt, a very good school. The “No” campaigners have never been against a new school building. The proposed site is just a very stupid place to even consider building a new school.

We all know, deep down, the lane is very narrow, over congested as it is and a danger to all in its present form. Regardless of how big the new car park/turning circle/drop off zone will be, vehicles still have to travel up and down Emmott Lane to get to it. The present school building is quite sufficient to cope with the correct number of pupils it can accommodate.

Surely the object is to invest in the other local schools to bring those up to the same standard as Laneshaw Bridge. It’s OK saying children who attend Laneshaw Bridge are “crying” because they see the “No” posters, but what are the children who don’t attend Laneshaw Bridge thinking? Are they thinking they attend a sub-standard school and their education will be compromised if they cannot get a place?

When all said and done, it is Lancashire County Council that will make the final decision. No amount of scaremongering, slurs and hearsay will sway its decision. This will be based on facts of planning regulations, safety, travel plans and good old common sense. Let’s use the money (it is taxpayers’, after all) earmarked for this project to invest in other schools and give all of the children in the area a chance.