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Lowestoft parents stage school protest

PUBLISHED: 07:21 07 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:21 06 July 2010

local residents protest against the proposed plans for a new high school to be built in Pakefield.

local residents protest against the proposed plans for a new high school to be built in Pakefield.

Campaigners fighting plans for a new high school in Lowestoft took to the streets yesterday to show the impact the extra staff and pupils would have on the town's already-congested roads.

Campaigners fighting plans for a new high school in Lowestoft took to the streets yesterday to show the impact the extra staff and pupils would have on the town's already-congested roads.

Pakefield Middle School has been identified by Suffolk County Council as the best place for a fourth high school for the town.

But parents and residents group Erase (Enraged Residents Against School Expansion) claims that the Kilbourn Road site is too small for a new school and that more pupils will worsen traffic problems in the area.

Yesterday, Erase members staged a protest at the two main roundabouts at both ends of Bloodmoor Road by pressing the buttons on pedestrian crossings to show the effect that more children travelling to the school would have on the flow of traffic.

Pakefield Middle School has about 800 pupils, but the expanded high school site would see numbers increase to 1,320 pupils with a number of extra staff - a capacity which the campaigners say the site and approaching roads will not be able to cope with.

The county council has proposed that a new entrance to the school will be built off the A12 at the Pakefield end of Bloodmoor Road.

Erase member Georgina Macleod-Thorpe said: “The children of Lowestoft deserve a brand new school which can take them through to 2025 and beyond.

“We're not against the school - we're very passionate about education. It is the road safety issue which we are concerned about, the safety of both the children and their parents. We need action now, not when a child's or an adult's life has been taken.”

She added: “More houses are likely to be built in Carlton Colville and Gisleham in the future and that is going to bring even more traffic through this estate, which cannot take it.”

Phil Whiffing, lead officer for Suffolk's school organisation review, said that members of the county council's cabinet had all the necessary information about the location of the secondary schools when they agreed to go ahead with changes to a two-tier education system.

He said: “In February this year, the independently appointed Schools Adjudicator approved all the proposed change for schools in the Lowestoft area, including the new high school for the south of the town.”

He added: “Issues relating to the safety of young people, parents and staff are always at the forefront of our minds and will be given high priority through the detailed planning stages.

“Local people will have opportunities to comment on plans relating to the new school as part of the normal planning process.”

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