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MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF INGLEBY BARWICK PARISH COUNCIL, HELD AT ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI CHURCH CENTRE - MEETING ROOM, BARWICK WAY, INGLEBY BARWICK, ON WEDNESDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2003, COMMENCING AT 7.00 P.M.
Chairman: Councillor T.W. Bowman;
Vice-Chairman: Councillor Mrs I Machin;
Councillors: N. Morrison, R. Patterson, Mrs S. Rouse and D. Scott;
Ward Councillor: Councillor Mrs J. Beaumont;
Clerk and Treasurer: Paula M. Hall.
Mr S. Barker, Head of Planning & Environment, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council;
Mr J. Hegarty, Planning and Policy Development Officer, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors W. Feldon and Ms J. Morrison.
Mr M. Gillson and Mr G. Callaghan, Engineering and Transportation, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (S.B.C.).
94. CODE OF CONDUCT - DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST.
Councillor Patterson declared a personal/non-prejudicial interest in relation to this item, as he is a member of the Green Wedge Action Group, he lives adjacent to the site and also maybe in the catchment zone for the school if built.
95. OUTLINE APPLICATION FOR A PRIMARY SCHOOL AND NURSERY WITH NEW ACCESS ROAD, ASSOCIATED CAR PARKING AND PLAYING FIELDS AT PLAYING FIELDS SOUTH OF INGLEBY BARWICK.
The Chairman introduced Mr J. Hegarty and Mr S. Barker from S.B.C.
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Mr Hegarty circulated a hand-out, outlining the procedure for consultation and decision on Local Education Authority (LEA) proposals to change school provision and another one on ‘The School Organisation Committee’ (a copy of which is attached to these minutes).
It was noted that before 1999, when an LEA proposed to make changes such as opening a new school, or closing or enlarging an existing school, the LEA had to issue a statutory Public Notice describing the proposed change. If no written objections were received within two months, the LEA could proceed to implement its proposal. If there were objections, the papers were sent to the Dfes (as it is now) and the Secretary of State would make a decision on the advice of civil servants.
A new system was put in place by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. The intention was to allow more of these decisions to be made locally, by people who know the area around the schools. Every LEA was required to set up a School Organisation Committee (SOC) to work independently of the LEA.
The SOC is intended to represent all the providers of (maintained) school education in the area. These are:
- the LEA (a group of Councillors reflecting the balance of parties in
- school governors (representing primary, secondary and special
schools, but not LEA governors);
- the local Church of England Diocese (in Stockton-on-Tees there are
two – Durham and York);
- the Roman Catholic Diocese (two again – Hexham & Newcastle, and
- the local Learning and Skills Council (responsible for education after
The LEA may add one more group if it wishes. In Stockton-on-Tees this optional group consists of three headteachers (from primary, secondary and special schools).
When the SOC has to make a decision, each of these groups has one vote. Groups may choose to abstain. A decision of the SOC is valid only if it is unanimous among all the groups that choose to vote on it. If the Committee cannot agree, the matter will be decided by an independent Adjudicator appointed by the Secretary of State.
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The SOC has two main functions: to agree the School Organisation Plan (SOP) prepared by the LEA, and to decide most types of proposals for changes to school provision.
The SOP provides the context for these decisions: it describes current school provision, the Council’s policies, the trends in pupil numbers, and points in general terms to any changes that will be necessary. For example, the current Stockton-on-Tees SOP indicates that continuing growth in pupil numbers will require additional primary school places in Ingleby Barwick, whereas across much of the Borough falling numbers will require a reduction in school capacity.
When considering any proposal for change, the SOC must consider both the SOP and statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State. This sets out Government policy and other factors that decision-makers must take into account.
Mr Hegarty informed that to date only the funding has been agreed for provision of a primary School in Ingleby Barwick. It was noted that the procedure for consultation and decision on LEA proposals to change school provision, has not been started.
It is aimed that the primary school will open in 2005 and will probably be a staggered opening to pupils, as it will be difficult to fill the full amount of places.
Mr Hegarty outlined the justifications for the requirement of a primary school in Ingleby Barwick.
It was noted that the land has not been purchased, which will depend on whether approval for ‘change of use’ is obtained.
Mr Barker outlined the planning procedure being followed in respect of this outline application, which is a departure from the Local Plan.
It was noted that 308 consultation letters have been sent out to the local residents, from which they have received back 11 letters objecting to the proposals, to date.
A letter of objection has also been received from Hilton Parish Council.
It was noted that determination of the application is delayed, pending an investigation of the site by Tees Archaeology.
It was noted by the Parish Council members present that there is no doubt a need for a primary school however there are still things to be considered in respect of land availability for its location, actual position of the school on the site, traffic issues, etc.
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The outline plans currently submitted where discussed, with regard to the position of the school and playing fields, as well as access.
Various concerns were raised with regard to the possibility of traffic congestion, which is an important issue to be considered.
Mr Hegarty informed that 3 hectares of land are required to build the school as one unit, which makes this an ideal site, an alternative site would be much more expensive to purchase.
Also, it would be cheaper to build a larger school on one site, rather than smaller units on different sites.
It was stated that if the proposed developments at Tall Trees, Yarm School and the Cross Keys are approved the traffic flows along Low Lane will be increased by a considerable amount.
When preparing a school ‘Green Travel Plan’, the starting time can be adjusted to accommodate traffic flows.
It was noted that siting of a school on designated green wedge is contrary to the Local Plan, however schools can be built there as they are built for a public purpose, it is up to the Planning Committee to decide on ‘the need’.
It was noted that if the location was approved, the local residents could then be involved with limiting the impact on adjacent properties.
A 2nd World War command bunker is suggested to be within the site, which needs investigation.
Concerns were raised about what happens with the schools in Ingleby Barwick as numbers decrease.
It was noted that the building would be designed with flexibility to ensure its suitability for change of use in the future, if the need arose.
It was suggested that the Ward Councillor call a public meeting to inform residents of the proposals. In order to meet the opening time of 2005 building of the school would need to commence spring/summer 2004.
RESOLVED that the Clerk liaise with Councillor Mrs J. Beaumont, with regard to arranging a public information meeting.
The Chairman thanked Mr Hegarty and Mr Barker for their attendance.
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96. TEES VALLEY STRUCTURE PLAN: FURTHER PROPOSED MODIFICATIONS.
The Clerk noted that she had forward the document to Parish Council members for their observation and comments.
RESOLVED that the Clerk reply to the Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit informing them that Ingleby Barwick Parish Council has no comments to make on the Further Proposed Modifications.
97. STOCKTON RENAISSANCE PARTNERSHIP AREA BOARD REVIEW.
The Clerk noted that the deadline for Parish Council comments is 30th September 2003.
It was noted that in all of the options being considered, Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick are combined together in one Board.
RESOLVED that the Clerk send a letter stating that it is important that Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick are both equally represented on the Area Board.
98. ODPM - CONSULTATION PAPER ON INDEMNITIES FOR RELEVANT AUTHORITY MEMBERS AND OFFICERS.
The Clerk stated that she had circulated the consultation paper to Parish Council members for their observation and comments.
RESOLVED that the Clerk forward the comments received back from Councillors to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister accordingly.
RESOLVED that the Clerk check the Parish Council’s insurance policy to confirm that Official’s indemnity is covered.