A NEW free school will be built on part of Worcester’s former Park and Ride site despite condemnation from a number of Labour councillors about the potential traffic impact.
Former Mayor of Worcester Coun Paul Denham also claimed Worcester City Council had been ‘stitched up’ by Worcestershire County Council over the site.
Councillors on the city council’s Policy and Resources Committee backed the proposal to sell three of the five acres to the Local Government Secretary to enable the proposed North Worcester Primary Academy to be built.
Creating a new school would reduce pressure on places in existing schools in the area with an estimated 583 homes to be constructed within the catchment areas of Northwick Manor, Claines and Perdiswell primary schools between now and 2030.
The former Park and Ride site has been derelict since September 2014 swung the axe on the service in a cost-cutting bid.
Since then the City Council has spent £50,000 per year in maintaining the site since the closure.
While the proposal received unanimous support a number of Labour councillors voiced their displeasure during the meeting.
Coun Christine Cawthorne said: “This is the final death knell of the park and ride scheme this city does need.
“I will support these proposals but I would caution any future planning application must deal with the traffic situation in this area.”
Her comments were echoed by Coun Jo Hodges who raised the fears of the increased traffic on an already busy road.
“There is a clear need and this does seem like a suitable site for a new school but we do need to be aware of the traffic it will create,” she said.
Coun Denham backed the proposals but angrily voiced his displeasure at the prospect of any Park and Ride service being removed permanently.
“We can have a new school where the stadium for Worcester City could have gone, it would have caused much less traffic,” he said.
“The fact is we have been stitched up by Worcestershire County Council who have left this site dormant for three years and left us to pick up the bill.
However, Coun Marc Bayliss defended the decision and branded the proposal ‘excellent news’ for younsgters and parents.
“The reality is this city is growing and this is a proposal which makes good use of dormant land and provides financial reward for this council,” he said.
“The new school will benefit the community with more choice and less pressure on the current schools in the area.”