AT LAST light is being cast on the River Learning Trust’s push for the Swan Free School to be located on a completely unsuitable site in Old Marston(New School Facing Delays : February 10).
Cllr Bob Price is certainly right to say that “the Harlow Centre site is quite problematic in terms of access”, but it’s problematic in all respects, in its impact on St Nicholas Primary School and on all the residents of Old Marston’s Carter Estate who would experience not 880 Swan pupils, but more than twice that number. Traffic congestion and increased air pollution would affect the whole of Old Marston.
A suggestion: Mr Paul James, CEO of the River Learning Trust, and Mr Steve Harrod, the Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for education, should, if they haven’t already, walk down the cycle track from the Cherwell School to St Nick’s and realize how access arrangements will impact on that school and on Old Marston as a whole.
This could be done after half-term, let’s say leaving Cherwell at about 8:15, when pupils are heading up the cycle track on their way to school.Mr James and Mr Harrod should then wander around the Carter Estate, go to St Nick’s and down to the Meadowbrook/Harlow site and on to the poorly maintained footpath which runs along the proposed site for the very large Swan.
Along the way they might wish to talk to local residents, so should wear large name badges for easy and instant identification.
In this way it might be hoped that these two gentlemen would begin to understand why the Swan School cannot nest in Old Marston; they should look to Cherwell’s existing sites for potential expansion (yes, this has been rejected, but must be revisited!).