Schools review suggests
closure and reductions
by David Skentelbery
A MAJOR review of primary schools across Warrington is putting forward a series of options – including the closure of one school and slimming down 10 more.
The options also include increasing the size of two other schools and building a new school to serve the new Chapelford urban village near Burtonwood.
Longbarn Primary is the school suggested for possible closure to remove 183 places – but the idea has already caused dismay and anger among local people.
Members of the public will be asked to give their views on the options put forward.
The borough council’s education department is required to produce a School Organisational Plan, which covers a range of topics including the organisation of school places and the reasons for the need to add or remove school places within the Borough. The aim is to ensure there are enough suitable school places to meet the educational needs of the population of any one area.
The first phase will review primary schools in areas where it is considered it may be necessary to increase the number of places to provide for basic need. It will also review some areas of the borough with surplus places and consider how best to remove these places.
Records collected over the past five years indicate that high levels of school places are not being filled – opening up the possibility of combining, or even closing down some schools, which may be surplus to requirements. The first phase will cover 50 schools, which have been grouped geographically to identify the communities they serve.
Members of the public are being invited to meetings being held to give people the chance to ask questions.
The council is asking for written responses to the consultation to be sent in by November 30. A report will then be prepared for the council’s executive board in January.
Coun Maureen Banner, executive member for education said: “The council believes in facing up to its challenges in partnership with the community. This public consultation will help us make the right decisions as we work to ensure the best possible education for all the young people of Warrington.
“We need to hear from everyone who is interested in the way education is provided in the borough to make sure we cover all relevant factors before coming to any decision. If parents, guardians and members of the public can take the time to give us their views, ideas and thoughts the process will have been a success. We will certainly listen.”
The schools suggested for a reduction in size are Cobbs Junior, Appleton, Broomfields Junior, Appleton, Barrow Hall Primary, Great Sankey, Callands Primary, Westbrook Primary, Great Sankey Primary, Sycamore Lane Primary Great Sankey, Alderman Bolton Primary, Padgate CE Primary and Cinnamon Brow CE Primary.
Two Lymm schools, Ravenbank Primary and Oughtrington Primary are suggested for possible increases in size.
Charity football boost
for Muscular Distrophy
EMPLOYEES of Carphone Warehouse from Warrington and Liverpool took part in a charity soccer match against a team of Hollyoakes stars at Warrington Town’s Cantilever Park ground.
The match raised money for the Muscular Distrophy Campaign charity.
It was the fourth year Carphone Warehouse had taken part in the football tournament organised to support the charity. The company also played its own company football final before the Hollyoaks match.
Taking part in the Hollyoaks team were Max Brown, who plays Kristian, Nick Pickard, who plays Tony Hutchinson, and Marcus Patrick who plays Ben Davies.
Muscular Dystrophy is the name given to a large number of medical conditions that result in a progressive weakening and wasting of muscles. Muscular Dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders can affect anyone… babies, children, young people and adults of any race or gender.
About one in every 2,000 people in the UK will have a neuromuscular disorder. Some neuromuscular conditions are life threatening, others may be very disabling or merely cause a mild disability. At present, there is no cure.
Charles Horton, regional fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign said “Carphone Warehouse has been the official sponsor of the match for the past four years, the company has a great reputation and it has definitely helped us to raise the profile of our charity, making this tournament a very special occasion.”
Dedicate a light
to a loved one
by Lesley Wilkinson
WARRINGTON people are being invited to dedicate a light to a loved one on a special Christmas tree being set up in the town centre for St Rocco’s Hospice.
For a donation to the charity organisers will provide a light in memory of someone or a special occasion. People may want to mark a baby’s first Christmas, the memory of a loved one or to remember friends who have moved away.
The St Rocco’s Hospice Tree of Light Appeal will provide a spectacular Christmas tree at Market Gate.
Appeals manager Claire Manock said: “With local people’s help, we would like to see many lights sparkle on the town’s festive tree, which will serve as a focal point in the town centre for everyone during the Christmas period.”
The project is being supported by Warrington Borough Council, the Town Centre Partnership and a local double glazing company.
The Mayor of Warrington Coun Ted Lafferty will switch on the lights during a dedication ceremony with carols on Sunday November 28 at 4.30 pm.
Claire said that people can dedicate a light for any reason they choose in return for a donation.
“There is no minimum donation; all we ask is that you be as generous as you can,” she said. “To acknowledge your generous donation you will receive a special Christmas card printed with the name of the person to whom the light is dedicated.”
?500,000 spent on
making homes warmer
by John Hendon
MORE than ?500,000 has been spent on helping householders in Warrington to make their homes warmer since last year.
The money was made available under the Government’s “Warm Front” scheme – and more than 600 local homes benefited.
Warrington North MP Helen Jones has welcomed the news that the money has been spent on heating and insulation work.
She said: “Warm Front grants are proving popular in Warrington North. Since April 2003 over half a million pounds of Warm Front funding has been spent in my constituency helping over 600 households keep healthy, save energy, and cut the cost of fuel bills. Since the scheme began in 2000 the number of households assisted has reached 2119.
“Many more people can apply and I would urge them to so. Let’s keep Warrington North warm.”
Eaga Partnership – which manages the Warm Front initiative – has reported that 56 households in the constituency have benefited from a brand new central heating system and a further 68 have received repairs to broken or condemned boilers. An additional 469 households will be making savings from having had their home insulated.
In addition 223 households with children under the age of four, 618 households on Disability Living Allowance, and 1046 households over the age of 60 have benefited from improvements to their homes.
To qualify, households need to own their own home or rent from a private landlord and they also need to be in receipt of an income or disability related benefit. To apply for a grant people can ring the freephone number 0800 316 6014.
Housing plan for
by John Hendon
A CONTENTIOUS plan to carry out residential development on land adjoining a historic farmhouse at Penketh, near Warrington is set to become before borough planners a second time.
Members of the borough council’s development control committee have visited the site of the proposed housing estate off Hall Nook since the scheme was first put to them.
ave heard of massive objections from local residents.
More than 60 protest letters of objection have been sent in by neighbours and there is also opposition from Penketh Parish Council and a local action group.
They claim the scheme will mean the loss of a greenfield site, have a harmful impact on the listed farmhouse and that the proposed properties would be at risk of flooding from the nearby Mersey.
Protected trees would be lost, along with hedgerows and other wildlife habitats.
Objectors also dispute claims that the farmland on which the houses would be built is no longer viable for agricultural use.
Penketh is already over-developed and has less than half the national average of public open space, they claim.
The Environment Agency has warned of the risk of landfill gas migrating from the now closed Gatewarth tip site and also pointed out that the site is in an area at risk of once in 100-years flooding from Penketh Brook.
They say flood defence work should be carried out as part of the scheme.
Planning officers are recommending the scheme for approval, however.
for two fires
by staff reporter
VANDALS were responsible for starting two fires in Warrington during the night.
A van parked in Secker Avenue, Latchford, was badly damaged after a youth was seen setting light to it and then running off.
In Grasmere Avenue, Orford, youths set fire to the contents of a binroom starting a blaze which threatened the adjoining house. The occupants escaped unharmed and fire crews managed to prevent the flames spreading inside the house.
A woman fled from her home in Vaudry Drive, Woolston after a pan of fat left unattended on a cooker burst into flames. The kitchen was filled with black smoke but firefighters were on the scene quickly and prevented the blaze from developing.
Paramedics treated the woman for shock and smoke inhalation.
by business staff
THE fourth Business in Birchwood exhibition opens today (Wednesday) at The Centre at Birchwood Park, Warrington.
Organised by Birchwood Forum – an umbrella group representing businesses in the Birchwood area – the exhibition is free and open to anyone looking for new business opportunities.
The formal opening is at 4pm and tomorrow a full day of seminars is planning alongside the exhibition.
by staff reporter
ADVICE on future careers and courses was offered to Year 11 pupils from throughout the town when they attended an open day at Warrington Collegiate.
The aim was to give guidance to youngsters unsure what courses to take or what careers to aim for.
Pupils had the chance to talk to staff and students about the hundreds of courses on offer. They also toured the college, took part in interactive displays and saw some classes in action.
There was also the opportunity to relax as youngsters and their families were entertained by a DJ.