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Council leader urge to halt leasing of Clearwater Drive land

August 20, 2018 6:00 AM

Liam Harries at Clearwater Drive open spaceThe leader of Gloucestershire County Council is being urged to stop the building of a controversial primary school on his own doorstep.

The Liberal Democrats have written to Councillor Mark Hawthorne asking him to halt the leasing of land at Clearwater Drive in Quedgeley to the Diocese of Gloucester Academies Trust.

Councillor Hawthorne is the county councillor for Quedgeley Division and has spoken up in support of residents opposed to the building of the new school on Clearwater Drive.

Gloucestershire County Council has confirmed that the open space is still owned by the local authority and will be leased to the Diocese should it win planning permission to build the Clearwater Church of England Primary Academy.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency is currently appealing to the Planning Inspectorate after Gloucester City Council turned down planning permission for the school following a campaign led by local residents and supported by the Liberal Democrats.

An agreement is in place to grant the Diocese a 125-year lease for the open space at Clearwater Drive - land that is popular with dog walkers.

An Agreement for Lease will be completed shortly, pending approval by the county council's Property Board - an officer-led meeting.

Liam Harries, Lib Dem spokesman in Quedgeley Severn Vale, said: "County Councillor Mark Hawthorne as council leader must have the authority to halt the leasing of the land to the Diocese.

"I have written to him to ask him to exercise that power and save the land at Clearwater Drive as open space.

"Councillor Hawthorne is on record speaking up for local residents and opposing the building of the new school. By halting the lease he would be saving the land for future generations to enjoy."

Mr Harries added: "Quedgeley has very limited open space and we are doing all we can to protect it.

"The Liberal Democrats have long argued that the new school should be built at Kingsway where there is a lot of new housing being built, rather than in the middle of an established estate.

"In the long-term we want to see Clearwater Drive designated as a town green, which means it would be protected from the threat of development.

"Unfortunately, that application cannot be made while planning issues remain outstanding."

The land at Clearwater Drive would provide a new home for Clearwater Church of England Academy, which is currently using temporary accommodation at Hardwicke Parochial Primary School.

Under the plans there would have been enough space for 420 pupils from reception year upwards.

The Liberal Democrats have long argued the land should be retained as open space and the new school built at Kingsway where new homes are being built.

Local residents were also concerned about traffic problems if the school was to be built at Clearwater Drive.