County council set to approve �2.5 million pupil referral unit despite protests

DESCRIBED by one councillor as “a profoundly flawed application” the county council is likely to approve next week a �2.5 million pupil referral unit in Wisbech.

Opposition from county councillor Simon King has included a petition with 241 signatures opposed to the Coalwharf Land site which claims it is too close to an old people’s home and a hostel for the homeless.

“It is out of keeping with the area and will have a detrimental effect on local residents, especially the vulnerable older people next door at Somers Court,” Cllr King told the development control committee.

He also claimed it would mean loss of parking spaces, highways dangers increased noise, increased crime and anti social behaviour, and would have an adverse impact on drainage.

However officers will recommend the committee approves the scheme on Tuesday which will be the last bit of the �100 million Building Schools for the Future programme in Fenland.

Up to 35 pupils will be catered for at the new school, which is relocating from March and will serve the whole of Fenland and beyond.

The school will provide improved student to teacher ratio (approximately 2:1), a design and technology suite, dining and social space and a play area with mesh enclosure: up to 16 members of staff will be employed.

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Although the county council received some letters in support, the committee will hear there were 15 other protests against the Coalwharf Road site objecting to the impact it will have.

“This facility was built for the frail elderly so this proposal is a very bad idea,” one objector told the council. “If anything, Somers Court should be allowed to extend into this area.”

One other protestor claimed house prices could fall whilst others thought the �2.5 million could be used to convert the old Phoenix or Constantine House to a school.

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