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New school plan 'beggars belief' say protestors

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WORRIED residents are ramping up their opposition to plans to build a new school in South Norwood, saying they "beggar belief".

The new school, which will be sponsored by Oasis Community Learning, was planned as a split site on the Croydon Arena and CALAT sites.

But last month there was confusion after it emerged the new school could instead be built on the site of Ryelands Primary, in Albert Road, with Ryelands being rebuilt on the CALAT site in Sandown Road.

The new 1,000-place secondary is intended to be a six-form entry sports and science college to form part of London 2012's Olympic legacy.

Whatever the nature of the plans, though, residents in the roads surrounding the site are vehemently opposed to them.

With signs saying "No To School @ Arena" displayed in many residents' homes, there is widespread hostility towards Croydon Council's proposed new school.

The campaigners produced a lengthy submission detailing their fears to the council's scrutiny committee last week.

They believe there will be unmanageable congestion around Arena tram stop, the Arena itself and the narrow residential streets which will serve as the school's main access point.

The document also questions whether this is the right location for the school site, with their figures pointing to a need for school places in the central and north-west parts of the borough.

Campaigner Sue Kennett said: "We all think it beggars belief really.

"The council admits that's where the need is, so why are they planning to build a school here?

"There are almost no transport links from that part of the borough to South Norwood.

"They have already identified West Croydon bus station as a bit of a hotspot for incidents between school children and that is where pupils for this school would probably have to come from."

Ms Kennett also points to the proposed school being on the border of Bromley borough, meaning Bromley students could be in the school's catchment area.

Ms Kennett added: "How will that help with the deficit of places in Croydon?"

There is also opposition to any potential infringement on metropolitan open land on the edge of South Norwood Country Park.

Frances Fearon, of Belmont Road, said: "The country park is a green jewel for Croydon.

"It is a haven of peace and tranquillity for wildlife and people and we cannot afford to put this delicate country park at risk with a massive new build.

"There are technical issues with the site which means that a great deal of excavation will probably need to be done before any construction takes place."

A council spokesman indicated there would be more to say by the end of July and any decision would take into account the wishes of the Ryelands board of governors.

New school plan 'beggars belief' say protestors


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