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Fight to save Alderman Swindell School in Great Yarmouth from closure gains support from committee

PUBLISHED: 12:47 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:47 14 September 2017

Alderman Swindell Primary School in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Alderman Swindell Primary School in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

A group of concerned councillors have added their support for calls to save a Great Yarmouth school from closing.

The Yarmouth Area Committee members of Great Yarmouth Borough Council have agreed to a resolution which says they “agree to support the residents in opposition to the closure of Alderman Swindell School”.

It follows last week’s news that Norfolk County Council will progress with a formal consultation over plans to close the school and combine it with North Denes Primary School by moving into a new £7m building at the latter’s site by 2020.

The consultation is going ahead despite a majority of people opposing the closure in a six week informal consultation.

The borough council committee agreed to step in in favour of parents fighting to keep Alderman Swindell open after they heard from Michelle Esherwood, who spoke on behalf of residents who oppose the county council scheme.

She said as local residents “we continue to strongly oppose” the plans and told the committee: “We are looking to ask our local council to reply to the consultation.”

She also said clarification on what would happen to schooling and transport arrangements while the proposed work goes ahead was needed and that data on how well North Denes Primary School was performing was lacking.

Rachel Jones, who represents the ward both schools are in, said people feel their thoughts on the issue have not been heeded by saying: “They are 
feeling their voices are 
not being heard.”

She also added that teachers at the threatened school were in “jeopardy” of losing their jobs.

Fellow councillor Paula Waters-Bunn said: “The problem with the consultation is it did not go out to all the residents”, and said she believed 300 people never had the chance to have a say.

She added she “wholeheartedly” supported the concerned residents in their “quest” to save the school.

Norfolk County Council has to make a decision on the plans to close the school within two months of the end of the four-week formal consultation process.

The scheme has been identified as more cost effective than the price tag for two expansions at the separate schools.

The county council has mooted the idea of the Alderman Swindell site being used for a new special needs school.

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