BOROUGH councillors will urge their County counterparts to make progress on a much-needed new secondary school in the north of Rugby at a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday January 17).
The leader of Rugby Borough Council, Coun Seb Lowe, is to host a Councillor Summit with county council representatives on their strategy for providing school places, and the provision of new secondary schools in the borough.
Having allocated a secondary school site in Coton Park and secured developer funding for its construction, Rugby Borough Council has been pressing Warwickshire County Council (WCC) – which is responsible for school place planning and provision – to move the development forward.
And, with demand for secondary school places high in the north of the town, the matter of safe and convenient access to nearby school places has been raised by residents as well as at recent council meetings.
Coun Lowe said the situation needed to be resolved.
He said: “There is a consensus amongst Rugby Borough Councillors and our residents that development of a new secondary school at Coton Park East needs to happen on the site identified within the Local Plan and approved by the inspector.
“In a time when we are tackling air quality and a climate crisis, we should not expect children in areas around Coton Park, Eden Park and Brownsover to walk or cycle alongside a busy dual carriageway to attend school when provision has been made for a new secondary school nearer to home.
“We have used the full extent of our powers within the planning system to provide a site and developer funding for a new school.
“Having written to the county council previously on this issue, we now need to understand what will happen next and when we can expect to see more secondary school provision in North Rugby.”
Writing to WCC a year ago, Newbold and Brownsover ward councillors Jim Ellis and Ramesh Srivastava said a new secondary school was ‘desperately’ needed for children living in Coton, Boughton, Eden Park, Rocherbie Heights, Newton and Brownsover.
They said: “Many families tell us they have held onto the hope of a local secondary school within easy reach of their homes for over 20 years, and this feels like the last opportunity for provision.
“We have observed conversations on doorsteps regarding the difficulty of using buses at a cost of £198 a term to distant schools.
“Children have struggled with traffic shooting through red lights, resulting in parents not letting their children walk along the Leicester Road – they are telling us it is not safe. It is our belief that a local school would remove this risk and ease the journey to school.”
WCC responded by saying that options for meeting the ‘expected future need for school places in the Rugby area’ were being reviewed.
The Councillor Summit is open to all Rugby Borough Councillors.