A SCHOOL in Guide Post is in a race against time to start building work which will improve learning conditions for pupils with special needs.
As well as replacing two existing mobile classrooms, Cleaswell Hill Primary School plan to improve wheelchair access and toilet facilities and create storage for specialist equipment.
The school is also raising funds for a small physiotherapy room.
However, head teacher Kevin Burdis said if work does not start before April this year, the school will lose part of the funding from Northumbria County Council and the development could be scaled back or even scrapped completely.
Some residents who live near the school also have concerns that the building work will increase traffic problems in School Avenue and Mr Burdis fears this will also impact on the school’s plans.
“The building work we are seeking to do is simply improve current classroom provision and toilet facilities for children in wheelchairs, “ he said.
“The parking that takes place on the street is minimal.
“We sometimes have one member of staff who parks on the street, often none.
“The main problem seems to be around the buses and taxis that transport the children but this only occurs for two shorts periods of the day during 195 days of the year.
“The new build is designed to improve the provision, however it will result in no additional capacity.
“Staff and pupil numbers would not increase as a result.
“Ironically, five new car parking bays are part of the plans.”
County councillor David Ledger, of the Choppington ward, sent out a letter to residents letting them know that steps will be taken to address the traffic problems in the street.
Coun Ledger also said that he is in favour of the school’s development and the small scale plans would not cause any further problems on the street.
“I have been working with the school for quite some time and the letter was put out to residents after a lot of problems with buses and taxis,” he said.
“Taxis were blocking people’s drives and buses are driving down there when they should not be.
“The letter was to reassure residents there is nothing to worry about.
“The development has to happen if the school is to move forward.
“All that people have said is to make sure things are done right.
“It’s all about tolerance and understanding more than anything else.
“They are worried about the ongoing work but it should not be that large of a development to have any traffic that would cause a problem.
“The school is an important part of the community.
“You see the children coming out at the end of the day with smiles on their faces.
“It is a very valuable place.
“It is a cracking school with a hell of a good reputation and I support them completely.”