Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Mowden schools expansion will go ahead
CONTROVERSIAL plans to extend a Darlington school have been given the go-ahead by councillors.
Darlington Borough Council’s planning applications committee today (October 17) granted approval for the plans to extend Mowden Infant and Junior School, in Conyers Avenue, Darlington, to create an extra 90 places at the infant school, and a further 120 at the junior school.
The application, which also includes plans to build an additional car park with 28 spaces and drop-off area on Conyers Avenue, received more than a dozen objections from residents concerned the plans would create more congestion in the surrounding roads and leave them unable to get out of their drives.
In the report prepared for the planning committee, objections stated the current parking situation is "ridiculous" with residents' drives being blocked at pick-up times between 2.30pm and 3.30pm on school days.
Coun Bill Stenson, ward member for Mowden, said: “Some residents are having difficulty getting in and out of their own drives because of inconsiderate parking.
“It won’t be long before we have a major accident. It is not fair to the residents to have cars parked across your own drive.”
A resident, who attended the meeting and lives next to the school, but did not wish to be named said: “One day I had to wait 20 minutes to get my car out of my garage. When the lady returned to her car she said 'If you live next to a school what do you expect?'”
However, despite the concerns, councillors were recommended to approve the proposals by officers, as long as a number of conditions were implemented.
Projects manager, Julia McCabe, said the local authority had identified a need for more school spaces for children in the borough.
She said: “It must act now to provide school places for children across the borough.
“Mowden was the most appropriate school to expand and the headteacher wanted to go for whole class expansion rather than teaching a mixed year group.”
Nine members of the committee voted to grant the application, while one voted against. Coun Stenson abstained from the vote.