New secondary school will swallow up village’s sports facilities - councillor fears

Littleport Leisure Centre

Littleport Leisure Centre - Credit: Archant

Littleport will lose valuable facilities if Cambridgeshire County Council allows the new secondary school planned for the village to be built around the leisure centre – according to a councillor.

Cllr Sue Kerridge says the county council should pay for its own land on which to build the school and not take up sports pitches and fields which belong to the leisure centre and the village.

Cllr Kerridge says she is in favour of building the new secondary, primary and special schools in the village but believes the leisure facilities need to be protected.

She said: “The county council built a primary school in Parsons Lane and then sold the original land for housing, taking away the open space but giving nothing back to Littleport, based on the fact that the open space on the sports centre site on Camel Road was sufficient.

“Considering the amount of new housing which has been built and that which is still to come, I do not think the county council should be allowed to operate in this way.

“Remember, they do not own the sports centre, it was built with your money. I do not think any other town in Cambridgeshire would be treated in this way.

“Please do not think the people in control will protect the assets of Littleport. A town the size of Littleport should not lose one facility to provide another, especially when part of this is to provide schools for the whole county.”

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The schools are set to be run by the Greenwood Dale Academy Trust, which runs a stable of 23 academies in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Peterborough.

The secondary school, due to open in 2016, will cater initially for 600 pupils aged from 11 to 16, with the potential for future expansion up to 750 pupils.

The special school on the same site will cater for 110 pupils aged from two to 19 with special educational needs.

The total cost of both schools will be about £30m, funded by Cambridgeshire County Council from a combination of Department for Education money and contributions from developers.

Cllr Kerridge urged residents to attend a consultation meeting due to take place on September 10, from 2-8pm, at Littleport Village Hall.

She added: “You will only have one chance to protect a sports facility which other towns envy and would not consider losing in this way.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: “Cambridgeshire County Council is working closely with the district and parish councils, Littleport sports centre and the school sponsor to develop proposals for the new school campus. We welcome comments about these proposals. The proposed new school will require the acquisition of land which we are actively pursuing, but the proposal does not envisage loss of playing fields or community facilities.”