North Mundham Parish Council voted on Tuesday (April 2) to object to the temporary siting of the school at the Vinnetrow Business Park, in Runcton, because of the ‘dangerous traffic situation’ on Vinnetrow Road.
“I think the road is so bad that no child ought to go into that premises on its own on foot, or by bicycle,” said Cllr Richard Beeny.
Cllr Tim Russell said: “One feels the idea of a free school is a good thing, but I do remain gravely concerned about the road safety aspect.”
However, he said the brief period of time between the application and the school’s proposed opening made it difficult to object.
“It’s almost emotional blackmail. If you object to this you’re screwing up a free school,” he said.
Cllr Paul Chivers said: “If we had the application for two years’ time we would have no qualms about saying that’s a silly place to put it.”
Helen Humphry, from the free school, said it was committed to the site, and had the support of parents.
“Parents are engaged and committed to our vision,” she said. “We’re talking about parents considering home-schooling their children because they’re not happy with what’s around.”
She said the school had been, in part, a reaction to low-attaining schools in the area, and an ‘unfair’ process meaning parents did not necessarily get their first choice. She said she had been looking for somewhere to locate the site for the last two or three years.
“It’s not ideal – this is the best we have,” she said.
Possible plans for a crossing and an improved bridleway to address the traffic issue are independent of the application submitted to the district council. Mrs Humphry said there would also be an emphasis on car sharing, and minibus points.