Where is the permanent site for the Cobham secondary free school going to be?

Elmbridge Council has not received any planning applications, despite the fact the publicity suggests the site has been agreed and that the school opened in 2014 in temporary accommodation.

Discussions have taken place about a greenbelt site behind the Leg O’Mutton field. This site is virtually landlocked.

Any access would have the effect of gridlocking one of our major roads.

The school’s recruitment area this year was extended to 5.65km as the crow flies.

It was suggested that there could be a dedicated access across the Leg O’Mutton field, with people using the Downside Bridge car park as a dropping-off area.

With the secondary school using temporary accommodation at present, where is further such accommodation to be sited until a solution is reached?

We believe the school would like permission for temporary classrooms on the recreation ground.

To achieve this, hard-standing, water, electricity and sewerage would need to be installed and then reversed when no longer needed.

The general public could be deprived of its use of the field for some four to five years.

In 2012, Elmbridge residents voted the field as the QEII jubilee field in perpetuity and, thus, it became part of a trust.

Permission for even a temporary change of use would need to be obtained from Elmbridge Council and almost certainly from the trust.

There are those who feel that the need for a secondary school in the centre of Cobham should take priority over everything else.

We are not opposed to additional secondary school places for children, but there must be a better solution to that which has been indicated.

Consultation with local people has been sadly lacking.

In order to achieve permission to use greenbelt land, there has to be an overwhelming need – not a desire.

Some secondary schools in Elmbridge have attained or applied for academy status.

Plans for Rydens to rebuild and expand have been approved by Elmbridge Council. Heathside, in Weybridge, wishes to expand – traffic plans have to be agreed first. Esher High will, in 2016, have St Andrew’s Primary, in Cobham, as one of its feeder schools for those children living in the catchment area.

Permission for a further secondary free school in Molesey was turned down on the basis it was not required.

Where then, in Elmbridge, is the overwhelming need?

With elections looming, we should be asking our parliamentary candidates where they stand. This letter was written by three concerned Cobham residents.

Via email