Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Comment: Rule on schools' outside space there for good reason
9:00am Saturday 9th March 2013 in News
WOULDN’T it be easy to paint the city councillors who turned down planning permission for the Tyndale Community School as pantomime villains? Bureaucratic penpushers who have thwarted a worthy scheme that will help the stretched education system in the city?
Well, if the figures on the outdoors space at the Lord Nuffield Club are correct, then no.
Councillor Mike Gotch objected to the scheme and said that the county council standard for the grounds of a school of that size is 2.2 hectares. The Lord Nuffield site, he said, is 0.59 hectares.
These figures are poles apart, so what else could a responsible planning committee do? Just ignore current standards and guidance just because Tyndale School taking over the vacant Lord Nuffield Club potentially solves two problems?
It now appears the school may be able to wait it out and move in anyway under new legislation designed to make it easier for free schools to move into existing buildings. But again that raises the real issue about whether it is right to sweep aside rules for short-term expediency.
Our education system has real problems with both the number of places available and attainment by pupils. But we can only solve it with sensible long-term planning and not shortcuts.