Three Liberal Democrat councillors recently “called-in” the Cabinet decision relating to increasing the size of Ludworth Primary School.
Ludworth Primary School is one of twenty schools highlighted by the Council as having the worst traffic problems in Stockport Bourough. It also sits within 100m of another primary, St Mary’s RC, which, like other schools, has its own traffic problems.
Marple is one of two priority wards with a serious shortfall of primary places..The plans to expand Ludworth by a half-form entry are a small but welcome means of addressing this. The Cabinet decision was a great opportunity to get this right and plan well.
Back in October, consultations at the school were not widely publicised in the community so ward councillors organised their own consultation meeting, attended by some 70 people and with the Cabinet member for Education accepting an invitation to join us. That produced an agreed set of minutes and proposals which were sent through to the Council at the time.
Ten months later we had a Cabinet paper come to scrutiny committees which failed to address adequately the traffic issues, was vague and non-specific about the measures it did include, and ignored the St Mary’s implications. The Children and Families Scrutiny Committee made detailed recommendations to improve the report but, when the report went on to Cabinet for decision, it was unchanged.
The Cabinet meeting that agreed the paper did so after facing 18 questions from residents, highlighting areas where the paper was inadequate. Despite this, the Cabinet agreed the report with no changes, prompting Lib Dem councillors to “call-in” the report to a further scrutiny meeting.
Speaking after the call-in, Cllr Malcolm Allan, councillor for Marple North, said: “At the call in, Lib Dem councillors proposed amendments to the report to include a specific and clear set of actions that officers have agreed are feasible, practical, not costly and workable. Without this there is no guarantee the children will be as safe as they should be, and the school will be faced with battling these issues rather than focussing on the children and the expansion plans. These proposals received cross party support from members of the committee, with only the Labour members abstaining.
“We hope the cabinet now take note of this input from the community and agree to change the report as requested by the scrutiny committee.”