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Primary school in Blackburn to expand despite fears over pupil safety
COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead to the extension of a primary school despite fears for the safety of pupils.
Fernhurst ward Tory councillors John and Jacqui Slater appealed to members of Blackburn with Darwen planning committee to delay the building work until a new link road was built.
Instead the committee agreed to give Lower Darwen Primary School in Milking Lane four years instead of the normal three to start construction work in the hope it could be arranged to coincide with a separate housing development nearby.
The two-storey extension is needed to add 20 children a year to the 579 pupil school over seven years to meet local demand for school places.
Coun John Slater appeared before the committee to object to an early start to the scheme as there is only one exit to Milking Lane onto Greenbank Terrace.
He said that until a residential development in Greenbank Terrace with a new link road at the motorway end of Milking Lane went ahead there would be a danger to pupils.
He said road safety would be compromised both by construction traffic and parents on the school run.
Committee chairman and Sunnyhurst Labour Coun Dave Smith said there were no planning grounds to refuse the application and promised to speak to all parties concerned to ensure the safety of children was not put at risk.
Coun John Slater produced a letter from River Street Assets saying their planned housing development near the school only needed the go-ahead from the Co-operative Bank to demolish two offices before work on the link road began. This had been delayed by the bank’s financial problems.
Lower Darwen primary headteacher Steve Cumbo said after the meeting: “We are delighted that the planning committee has approved the extension. There is a big demand for places.
“The road safety of our pupils will be a priority in any development. We have plans to stagger the start and finish times of school and encourage children to walk to school.”
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