Plan to sell Thornwell School garden slammed
4:50pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
SELLING Thornwell School’s garden for housing to raise cash for its £3.5m rebuild would be a terrible shame, claim parents.
Monmouthshire council is considering the money generator, as well as selling off the former caretaker’s bungalow, to make way for residential units.
Thornwell School was badly hit by fire in 2011 and the project to build a new school has been dogged by delays and rows over cash.
This time last year we revealed no money had been earmarked for the rebuild in the 2012/13 budget.
Council members later agreed £3.5m would be spent - £1,530,226 from the council and £1,969,774 from the fire insurance.
The new school has not been approved by the planning committee yet, because Welsh Water and the council have been locked in discussions about diverting a sewer pipe.
On Monday afternoon, a number of parents picking their children up said axeing the present garden for housing was not the right move.
Nicola Jones, 31, whose children Jordan, 11, and Emily Bowles, 4, are pupils there, said: “There’s not much land here anyway. It’s shocking to know that’s in the pipeline.”
A mum-of-four who did not want to be named, said: “That’s disgusting. I don’t think it’s a good idea, it’s supposed to be the kids’ gardening area.”
Nigel Hill, 46, collecting son John, six, said: “I am disappointed.
They did that (sold land for housing) at my old school. The children had a lot less room to play. The houses may look nice but the kids shouldn’t lose out to pay for the school.”
Headteacher Linda Davies said the area under consideration is used by the after-school gardening club.
She said should that be the plan of action, the garden could be re-sited at the back of the school. “Iamjust very grateful for a new school.
We want it as soon as we can,” she added.
Cllr Armand Watts slammed the plans. He said: “It’s shameful. The local authority has made continual promises about financial security of this project and now they are introducing the latest saga in the story.”
A spokesman for Monmouthshire council said the plans to hand the bungalow and garden to the council’s estates section for disposal has been the case from the outset.
“They are currently assessing the potential for the reuse of the area, which will include the possibility of residential units. In line with council policy, any capital receipt monies from the sale of surplus school sites go to the council to be reinvested back into schools,” he added