Monday, 7 November 2011

Letter to Norfolk County Council re: Charles Burrell and Thetford Schools

Dear Mr Murphy, As you will be aware, the Thetford Academy will be re-locating from a two site school to just one site, with the building that was once Charles Burrell High School no longer being required. Instead, what was previously called Rosemary Musker High School – now Thetford Academy North Campus, will provide all the education facilities for Years 7 pupils upwards. As the three elected Breckland District Councillors for the Thetford – Saxon Ward, we wanted to write to you regarding some concerns that we have, but to also outline a potentially very important opportunity that we believe now exists; 1. Transport provision for young people from South of Thetford: A majority of the young people from the Thetford – Saxon Ward currently attend the South Site as it is so geographically near. Many students and parents are rightly concerned about this change and feel that it would not be appropriate or indeed safe to expect children from the South of Thetford to walk to and from the North site each day. We strongly urge you, and the Academy Management and Lead Sponsors to ensure that adequate transport provision is in place prior to this change. We want our young people to arrive ready for their education each morning, after a 45 – 60 minute walk across town, potentially in wet and cold conditions, we do not feel that this would be possible and their education would suffer as a result. 2. Croxton Road safety concerns: We also have considerable concerns about the safety of the Croxton Road and Mundford Road that leads to the North Campus site. There has previously been a fatality on this road involving a school child, and a child was knocked down by a car just the other week – although thankfully the injuries were not too severe. We urge you to ensure your transport officials investigate all possible options for safety improvements in this area and to put pressure on the Academy to ensure that road safety is an important part of the schools education programme. 3. Charles Burrell site – opportunity: We believe that a fantastic opportunity now presents itself with the South Campus site. For very many years the South of Thetford has suffered from a distinct lack of community facilities. This will be further exacerbated if those dual usage facilities at the school move. We urge the County Council to retain the swimming pool and main hall at the Charles Burrell site for community usage. We would welcome the creation of a Community Trust, or similar organisation that these assets could be transferred to, we would be happy to help facilitate this and believe we would have the support of Thetford Town Council in doing so. Crucially, we would support the County Council if it were to redevelop the remaining site, which could be utilised for housing provision – with a Section 106 put in place that could contribute to the sustainability of the community buildings? We recognise that it is important that the County Council realises the full value of its assets, and would support this if it also resulted in a sustainable community asset being created. This proposal would be a massive boost for the wider community which has suffered from entrenched deprivation for many years. We urge you to consider our proposals. Best wishes, Terry Jermy Thetford Town & Breckland District Councillor Sylvia Armes Thetford Town & Breckland District Councillor Mark Robinson Breckland District Councillor

Breckland Leader article in Thetford and Brandon 03.11.11