Shropshire Council leader: New school plans at early stage
Building at Shrewsbury Sports Village is just one of several options for a new school, Shropshire Council's leader has insisted.
Peter Nutting was speaking at a meeting called to discuss the sports village in Sundorne, which has been suggested as a potential site for a new Shrewsbury Academy school.
The sports village has a gym, climbing walls and indoor bowls, and people at the meeting shared their memories of using the playing fields there as children.
Councillor Nutting warned at Thursday's meeting that Shropshire Council has a responsibility to find new school places in the north of Shrewsbury, and that there were no "magic answers".
He said that the sports village site was one option identified, and the possibilities also include expanding the academy's current site in Corndon Crescent, or building on the Grange Primary School.
Shrewsbury resident Maelor Owen chaired the meeting at the Lantern community centre, not far from the sports village.
Dozens of members of the public turned out to hear what was said, as well as interested parties including Sarah Longville, executive headteacher of the Marches Academy Trust.
The trust recently took over Shrewsbury Academy and the Grange Primary School.
After an introduction from Mr Owen, Peter Nutting addressed the meeting. He said: "There are absolutely no plans in place to do anything and no plans have been made, but there is the inkling of an idea that we have been asked to look at.
"There are problems getting kids in school. There are a few possibilities - there is the possibility of building something at the Grange.
"It's all very initial, it's been done on a bit of paper in a desktop exercise and that's where we're at.
"It's our responsibility to make sure the children of this area get the best possible education service that we can provide."
Some of the residents raised their fears that building a new school on the sports village site would exacerbate traffic problems in Sundorne, especially at rush hour.
Kevin Pardy, who represents Sundorne on Shropshire Council, organised the meeting amid fears from the neighbourhood's residents.
He said: "I fully understand the dilemma the council has. It's the same right across the country, schools are forever requiring money.
"I support a brand new school here, who wouldn't do? Just not there, absolutely not there." He gestured towards the sports village as he spoke.
Towards the end of the meeting Councillor Nutting vowed that as the plans progress they will be shared with the public before any decisions are made.
David Kilby of the Shropshire Playing Fields Association attended and urged concerned residents to get involved in a working group, and Ms Longville said the Marches Academy Trust would support such a group.
Jane Asterley Berry circulated a petition at the meeting, opposing the building of the academy on the sports village site.