Wednesday, 27 February 2008

North Road Primary: the pace hots up

The process of designing the exciting new £6.5million North Road Primary School continues apace. Today there was a series of meeting in the Town Hall, each looking at various aspects of the design. Although originally set up for officers only, I persuaded TPTB that ward councillors should be involved in the "Extended Facilities" meeting. I think it is important that a school which is being built with local community use in mind should have an input from elected representatives of the local community.

We have seen promises of community access systematically watered down in the plans for the PRU at Rise Carr, and were keen to ensure that the same did not happen at North Road. Certainly the provision of meeting rooms, a hall, changing, storage and kitchen facilities will be invaluable to local residents. As we, and councillors from Harrowgate Hill ward, repeatedly point out, the lack of community facilities in the north of the town is an absolute disgrace. At the moment, the Council are making all the right noises as far as North Road Primary is concerned.

We were concerned, though, about a couple of aspects of the plan. Firstly, the plan involves grassing over Pendelton Road South so that the school buildings and playing fields are linked. Pedestrians and cyclists, who currently have a straight route across the site, would have to go on a specially constructed detour around the outside of the site so that they do not clash with pupils walking across to their playing field. A survey will be carried out next week to see how many residents currently use that route.

Secondly, Grass Street park is being demolished to incorporate that area into the school grounds. The plan is to build a new, but much smaller, play area on St Paul's Terrace, on part of the school car park. We were concerned that the facilities here should be an improvement on the Grass Street play area. There seems to be some debate, shall we say, amongst officers about how much of the school building budget should be used to rebuild this facility and whether other departments should contribute.

You can see the stretch of Pendleton Road which is to be built over, and the tree-lined Grass Street park, on the photo above. The current school is in the top right hand corner of the photo. It is to be rebuilt across the road on the large field. New school playing fields are to be provided on the site of the current buildings.

It was interesting to be involved in a non-party political process directly affecting my constituents. All too often, as ward councillors, we only find out what "they" are planning when it is too late to have any realistic input.


miketually said...

There's a nice aerial view of the site on Google Maps

I'd be interested in seeing details of the bike/pedestrian diversion.

Mike Barker said...

That's a cool aerial view! The pedestrian and bike diversion does not yet actually apear on any drawing, but would go up St Paul's Terrace towards North Road, then parallel to North Road adjacent to St Paul's Place, before returning behind the houses on Henry Street to the Pendelton Road/Gurney Street junction .
Your aerial view provides a good view of Grass Street Park, which is to be replaced with something much smaller.

miketually said...

That's not a particularly long diversions. Although, it might not be very pleasant if it's secluded and/or poorly lit.

I bet you spend ages looking at places on Goolge Maps now :)

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes...

I do at home not at work.

The 3D images of the world's most famous buildings and structures are amazing. You can see right into them. No Darlington Town Hall isn't among them. The Angel of the North is the nearest. I think. There are also potted histories and features of the places and wonderful photographs.

Tremendous, abolutely tremendous.