Council apologises over scrapped expansion of school near Milton Keynes

A local authority says its priority is finding alternative places for children this September, after conceding defeat in its attempt to turn Aspley Guise Village School into a primary.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 2:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th April 2022, 2:14 pm

The switch was intended as part of Central Bedfordshire Council’s Schools for the Future programme moving towards a two-tier system of education instead of three.

But the school site in Spinney Lane is limited and access to the premises would have needed significant improvements.

A council spokesman said: “We’re extremely sorry that we are unable to expand Aspley Guise Village School. We always knew there would be challenges to overcome at this location.

Aspley Guise Village School

“Unfortunately, it’s become clear in the last few weeks that there are a number of issues that can’t realistically be resolved.

“We’ve looked at ways to overcome the highways and parking issues. But, as we don’t control all of the access road or the car park, we were unable to make any further meaningful improvements to address the issues.

“This coincided with confirmation that access to neighbouring land for us to undertake permanent building works was not going to be possible.

“We appreciate this is a difficult situation, particularly for the children who were planning to stay at the school in September 2022. Our priority now is to support these families to secure a different school place.”

Independent Aspley Guise and Woburn councillor John Baker has described it as “deeply frustrating” that CBC is “unwilling to meet the cost of resolving a lack of good highways access and the constrained location”.

The results of a consultation process over plans for the schools in the area were reported to the council’s executive in July 2020.

Councillor Baker had warned then: “Residents are unhappy with the current transport arrangements and more vehicles could be going there on a daily basis.

“The access, Spinney Lane, turns into an unadopted piece of road before you get to the school.

“We need to think whether we should be negotiating with a neighbouring landowner and buying some land to build a new access down to Bedford Road.”

And Liberal Democrat Linslade councillor Peter Snelling had said: “Aspley Guise really won’t cope with another two years of parents trying to access that same site.”

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesperson said today: “We’re extremely sorry that we are unable to expand Aspley Guise Village School. We always knew there would be challenges to overcome, but unfortunately, it become clear in the last few weeks that there are a number of issues that cannot realistically be overcome.

“We have looked at ways to overcome the highways and parking issues but as we do not control all of the access road or the car park, we were unable to make any further meaningful improvements to address the issues.

“This coincided with confirmation that access to neighbouring land for us to undertake permanent building works was not going to be possible.

“Until we had fully explored options around additional land, access, as well as planning, parking and highways through the planning application process, we weren’t able to make a definitive decision.

“We appreciate this is a difficult situation, particularly for the children who were planning to stay at Aspley Guise Village School in September 2022. Our priority now is to support these families to secure a different school place.”