Dear Parents, Governors and Staff
Outline Planning Application 16/04576/CCD for new Leisure Centre, Library, Primary school and Secondary school.
On behalf of the Governing Body we would once again like to say a big thank you for your unwavering support for PCMS during this interim period. Sadly protracted dialogue with Northumberland County Council on land issues has led to a delay in us reaching Academy status, and you will be fully aware that we are now consulting on moving to Foundation Status as a stepping stone to achieving our goal. All our endeavours to date have been largely driven through our communication and feedback from you, the parents, and as a Governing Body, we maintain an ongoing determination to keep improving and expanding the ‘outstanding’ educational provision and opportunities you have told us you would like.
However, today’s message is primarily to alert you to another urgent situation to which you can respond and make your voices heard in support of PCMS.
On 29 December 2016 four public notices were displayed along Callerton Lane, Ponteland giving notice of the NCC outline planning application 16/04576/CCD for the demolition of the existing leisure centre and replacement with a new leisure centre, library, Primary school and Secondary school.
Documents relating to this application are available for public viewing at;
Two maps are used – one of the site north of the Bridleway [attached] titled “Howarth Litchfield Map”, and a second [attached] titled “Appendix 1 – Site location plan” [dated 12/5/16] which includes Ponteland Middle School allocated land – namely the meadow, 3G pitch, school field, cricket wicket, bus and visitor/staff overflow car parks.
On gaining our Academy order in April 2016, PCMS cited the school’s land as per the Northumberland County Council’s 2011 ‘redline map’ for the school, [also attached] titled “NCC Ponteland Middle School”. This map includes the meadow, 3G pitch, school field, cricket wicket, bus and visitor/staff overflow car parks. The Governing Body at PCMS and the DfE expect the school to continue with their full extent of facilities and resources to sustain and develop the exemplary provision for the children in our school community and so we are challenging NCC on this.
Back in November, a request was made by the DfE to NCC that the LA ‘take no action towards selling or using the site until conversations with the DfE have been concluded’. NCC were given until 6 December 2016 to ‘confirm their commitment to formally agreeing use of the site occupied by Ponteland Middle School, and to progress matters as expediently as possible’. Therefore this 16/04576/CCD planning application clearly is in breach of this.
Throughout the online application documentation it is said that Local Authorities should be engaging in pre applications with promoters to foster a collaborative approach to applications to help mitigate adverse impacts and help deliver development that has a positive impact on the community. Alarmingly PCMS was not informed about this directly and discovered the planning application through the goodwill of parents and members of the community and we are grateful to you for your support. Your Governing Body is very concerned about the misinformation and have written an objection to Mark Ketley, Head of Planning.
Our request to you today is that in response to the NCC application you consider voicing your opinion by submitting your comments online at http://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.uk/online-applications
Alternatively you can respond in writing to the Planning Department, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF. Please note your comments will not be acknowledged but will be made publicly available online. Anonymous comments will not be taken so please include your name, address and postcode. Comments must be received within 21 days from the date of the notice [29 December 2016] and the deadline is Wednesday 18 January 2017.
Please feel free to contact Dr Pryer if you have any questions about this matter.
With kind regards
T Barber H Batey
Mr T Barber and Mrs H Batey
Co-Chairs of the Governing Body