CROMPTON House School’s massive expansion plans could place it on a collision course with local residents.
A public consultation is currently underway for the scheme which would raise admission numbers at the Academy from 1120 to 1680 places: an additional 112 places per year group in year seven to 11.
All the new admissions would be housed on the current Rochdale Road site.
The expansion is part of a £38.2million development also including Oldham Academy North, Oasis Academy together with a new secondary free school.
A report published by Oldham Council in October 2016 suggested Crompton House was the borough’s third most oversubscribed school after Blue Coat and North Chadderton.
It states: “There continues to be an increase in demand and significant pressure on school places in the borough.
“This is as a result of an increasing birth rate, new housing developments and a growing number of families moving to the borough, including high numbers of International New Arrivals.
“The current primary surplus places for the borough is 1.2 per cent (secondary surplus is 6 per cent at present). The recommended surplus stated by Central Government is 5 per cent.”
The report goes on to add: “The opportunity to expand existing secondary schools has been evaluated using the Secondary Schools Priority Matrix.
“Using the matrix criterion, the potential schools for expansion are the following in priority order: Crompton House School, Hathershaw College, North Chadderton School and The Oldham Academy North.
“To date only one feasibility idea has been considered at Crompton House School based upon an approach from the school.
“Crompton House School has put forward a proposal to expand from an 8FE to 10/12 FE i.e. an expansion of 60/120 school places per year group.”
A Crompton House report says: “There would be no additional places added straight away to the classes for Y8 – Y11.
“This means the school would gradually expand to accommodate the extra children year on year, therefore the proposal would have minimal direct impact on the children already attending.”
The latest consultation is the first public engagement though the School has held open evenings; the latest being on January 31, 2018.
But there is local anger consistent with major new development. Residents in Saddleworth are split over OMBC’s plans to move Saddleworth School from the centre of Uppermill to Diggle.
Last year the Save Diggle Action Group won a High Court battle with the Council in their on-going fight to preserve the proposed Diggle location.
And Crompton House’s plans have also been criticised locally initially through a Facebook group called ‘Stop Crompton House Expansion (SCHE)’.
A lengthy post on SCHE raises a number of arguments and criticisms against the proposals.
It says: “The information on the expansion has only recently been made visible on the web, and this only occurred after recent complaints to the LEA, School and Councillors.
“Given the School will receive a share of the £38.2m of Tax Payers money and the LEA will find an easy solution to years of poor planning, only a collective voice may bring reason and let the LEA / School know residents do not want Shaw / the current School ruined by this expansion.
“The document “Future Education Provision” has stated the reasons for the additional places are:
“This is as a result of an increasing birth rate, new housing developments and a growing number of families moving into the borough, including high numbers of International New Arrivals.”
“The decision appears to have solely been taken on the Ofsted rating of the School and not on the local need or capacity to accommodate the additional pupils.
“At an increase of 50 per cent that’s over (1120 * 50 per cent) 560 Pupils and potentially 1120 car journeys to the Shaw area, with no parking available in the vicinity of the school to accommodate drop offs / pick up and that’s disregarding the traffic on school trips, open evenings etc.
“And that could just be the start if this occurs in future then another 50 per cent increase would become an additional 840 Pupils assuming the Birth Rate continues at the current trend.
“The school site in addition to being located outside of the High Birth Rate Areas is not large enough.
“So, the preferred solution is to demolish one of the existing buildings to make room for a larger structure.
“When the solution involves the demolition of an existing build that’s hardly value for money for the tax payer.
“I wouldn’t demolish my house then build another if I needed more room!
A spokesman for SCHE, who only wished to be identified as Jason, also added: “Parents receive 100s of parent mails throughout the year. But no parent mails were sent advising of the consultation prior to the LEA (Local Education Authority)/ School agreeing the expansion.
“The original plans prior to January 2017 did not include access to the School from Duchess Street.
“Given the Council has recently made efforts following accidents in the Shaw area, including speed bumps on Rochdale Road near to the school, it would be natural to expect negative feedback / press / legal challenge.
‘There was little published information on the expansion until recently following complaints by residents.
“Do the council care about Shaw, build on the greenbelt land, ruin the school, decrease house prices due to traffic and parking issues. What’s next?”
Commenting on the post Jane Rawlings said: “I live in High Crompton and the parking is so dangerous at the start and end of school.
“Parents don’t care if they block drives, park on yellow lines, on corners of the roads and this goes as far up as Sherwood Way. It’s completely out of control.”
Darren Rawlings wrote: “Also part of the big master plan to build all over that beautiful greenbelt land from Shaw to Newhey and towards Royton, or am I missing something? Great school, but just think about it!”
Elvis Terrier posted: “OMG it’s absolutely horrendous trying to access Orchards estate or get down Rochdale Road at school times with parents trying to park as near to the school as possible.
“I don’t think these kids no (sic) what their legs are for i.e. walking!! Also, when they are having trips the coaches line up on the main road reducing it to single lane traffic – I never see traffic management officers when you need them!
“We definitely don’t need it expanding, we need staff and parents to spare a thought for local residents!”
Sarah Tranter: said “Maybe if local children could get into the school it would be more welcome with less disruption due to increased traffic.
“I no longer live in Shaw so things may have changed but when I attended that school the majority of pupils weren’t local so that can’t be used as a reason to need to increase capacity.
“Maybe the capacity at schools in other areas needs to be increased so people don’t need to travel so far.”
Crompton House has also declined to comment on the expansion plans. A spokesperson said: “OMBC is coordinating the consultation process and so all comments should come from them at this point in the planning process.”