Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
Free school supporters hit out at council
1:00pm Friday 8th March 2013 in News
SUPPORTERS of a free school planned for Woolston have accused Warrington Borough Council of unfairly influencing a planning application.
It is the latest controversy to surround the maligned planning department.
Parents at King’s Leadership Academy Warrington say they have submitted numerous positive comments to the council’s website backing plans for new buildings on Hillock Lane.
The application was registered on January 22 with parents claiming messages of support were sent in immediately.
As of Tuesday, only six comments from residents had been added - all against the application.
Parent governor Colin Scotland said there is now ‘widespread concern’ it is being manipulated.
Education bosses have previously said they were ‘bullied’ into considering an application for the Hillock Lane site.
Jane Willington’s daughter Megan, aged 12, attends the free school, currently based on Seymour Drive in Bruche, with son Jake, aged 11, starting in September.
“I have left positive comments but they have not been put on the website,” said Mrs Willington, of Biggin Court, Padgate.
“All of these negative comments are being put on the website but all of the positive support isn’t being shown.
“I think the council is trying to put a negative stamp on it so people think that nobody wants this school.”
Karen Barker, of Padgate Lane, Padgate, also plans to send her son there in September.
She also left a positive comment which is yet to be displayed and said: “If they are uploading negative comments they should be uploading the positive ones as well.
“I think the council is playing funny games because it didn’t want the school in the first place.”
Andy Farrall, executive director of environment and regeneration at Warrington Borough Council, said: “The local planning authority has received approximately 100 representations made online, by email and via letter in relation to the Hillock Lane application.
"Some of those are still being uploaded to the website and should be published by the end of today.
"The team is currently dealing with a significant number of planning applications and appeals which have generated a lot of public interest at this time so things are unfortunately taking a little longer than would usually be the case.”
Shane Ierston, head teacher at the free school, said: “We hope they do appear on the application.
“We just want it to be fair.”
A date has yet to be set for when the application will be considered by the council.
If approved, King’s Leadership Academy Warrington will be based in new buildings on the playing fields at Hillock Lane from September next year.
Officials have pledged the development will benefit the community and improve sports facilities.