I am a parent at Woodlands Meed School, my son is due to go to Woodlands Meed College next year.
I have attended the two recent meetings (CLC and at WM).
West Sussex County Council say there is no funding to come from the local authority and that we are totally at the mercy of central government. If the college were to be built where it was originally intended (T Block at Oakmeeds), WSCC could have both the Court Meadow site and the current College (old Newick House) appraised and sold and the funds could be used to build the college. It makes perfect sense to me and morally the right thing to do. In allowing T Block to become once again part of the Burgess Hill Academy campus WSCC have missed a trick as selling two prime sites such as Court Meadow and the former Newick House site would raise a lot of capital and go a good way towards funding the college. I am quite sure a loan could be made against the prospective sale of the current college whilst the new college is built and it could be sold for housing immediately the college was complete.
It has recently come to light that Cuckfield Parish Council have already allocated the former Court Meadow site to a housing development in their Neighbourhood Plan. This is due to be built 2020 onwards, conveniently after the eight year deadline has passed and therefore the site will no longer be categorised as education and the money raised would not be automatically have to be used to replace the facility that had been closed.
For the avoidance of doubt, Court Meadow School was closed in 2012 when Woodlands Meed School was built and the promise was to build a new college when sufficient funds were available. It was closed with the knowledge that once the pupils got to 14 they would have nowhere locally for them to go to school. WSCC have sat on their hands and done nothing to raise funds, otherwise why does Court Meadow remain empty and unsold? The funds tied up in this site belong morally to the college. The reason the children cannot go to the current college is that there is only one disabled toilet in a college for children with severe disabilities, no hoists or room for wheelchairs. Some of the ‘temporary’ buildings being used are decades old. When you are a parent of a child that has complex needs such as my son and his peers every day is a challenge, even getting them into a school like Woodlands Meed is a challenge, getting them an ECHP is a challenge, often things as trivial as Christmas are a challenge, in short every second of every day of our lives is a challenge. We should not be having to have this fight now. It makes me feel hurt and physically sick that councillors can have such little thought about the effect that this is having on individuals. We have no choice where to send our children, mainstream kids have the choice of Burgess Hill Academy, Warden Park, St Pauls and Downlands. WSCC just say ‘sorry no money’ when Court Meadow has lain empty and boarded up and my son’s peers are having to be sent to schools out of county and far from home. This is a disgrace.
Mrs Deborah Eyre
Newport Road, Burgess Hill
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage at www.midsussextimes.co.uk
2) Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/midsussextimes
3) Follow us on Twitter @midsussex_times
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
The Mid Sussex Times - always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.