Mixed views over Academy re-vamp

PLANS were on show at the Wesley Centre in Maltby for a proposed £11 million redesign of Maltby Academy.

Tuesday, 8th May 2012, 3:17 pm

Members of Maltby Forum put the plans on a big screen for everyone to see, and to help them understand the proposed changes to the Braithwell Road school site.

People at the meeting said they had found it useful to see the designs up close, as Rotherham Borough Council’s planning website was hard to use.

And some strong opinions were aired on issues including access to disabled toilets, protecting bats living on site and saving the 80-year-old grammar school building.

The meeting heard how bats were known to roost in the roofs of the old grammar building and the north wing known as block A - both are earmarked for major building work.

Coun Joy Bradford has started a petition to save the grand frontage from demolition, which has already attracted 1,000 signatures.

“The school held a meeting on Friday for councillors to discuss the plans and I told the head that people felt betrayed,” she said.

“He has said all along that the school is committed to keeping that building, and now the plans show it will be completely gone.”

Fiona Cleary, of Ash Grove in Maltby said she welcomed the funding for new facilities but felt ‘disgusted’ that the school had abandoned its commitment to keep the old frontage.

“I think there are options that have not been considered with this application,” she said.

“Why are they spending money on cosmetic changes to buildings and not the facilities inside them?”

“The school has got first class sport facilities across the road at the leisure centre, yet they are creating a new sports block.”

Ms Cleary has three children at Maltby Academy. She, her parents and grandparents are former pupils.

“As parents we have had little or no communication about these plans,” she said.

“Sending letters home with children is not an effective way of inviting us to meetings. Their communication has been appalling.”

Another resident Mick Blunt, of Strauss Crescent said: “Town councillors have turned round and said we should ask the borough council if we have any questions about the application,” he said.

“I’m sorry but that is their job to aide public consultation and provide us with information so we can make an informed opinion.”

“Changes to the school will reach into the wider community and impact future generations. Consultation should have been much wider.”

The official public consultation period will end on 7th May, having lasted just 22 days.

If permission is granted, building work is due to start in June and be completed by September 2013.

l Large scale plans have also gone on display at the Edward Dunn Memorial Hall on Tickhill Road in Maltby. Viewing is from 9.30am - 1.30pm Monday to Friday. The plans are expected to be on show until Friday 11th May.