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Three Rivers District Council backs Baldwins Lane as site for new school
An unpopular site for a planned new secondary school in Croxley Green has received backing from Three Rivers District Council .
The executive committee agree to "reluctantly" support the Green Belt site, in Baldwins Lane, as a possible location for a much needed school last night.
The site was put forward by the county council as the most desirable location for a new school, but was opposed by the district council, which suggested building on a farm in Maple Cross would be more appropriate.
The Croxley Green site was also opposed by residents and the parish council, due to its Green Belt location.
A large crowd from Croxley Green packed out the public gallery and chairman of the residents' association, Barry Grant, described how "residents had left no doubt as to their appreciation of the green belt site" during a public consultation.
He added: "The counter point is the paucity of response from residents around the Maple Cross and Mill End sites who, perhaps, value having a new secondary school higher than retaining a green belt site in the vicinity and who realise the days of the local farm are numbered."
Mr Grant's speech ran over the three minute time limit allocated to public speakers and was not allowed to read his final sentence. He left the stand to boos and cries of "for shame" from public gallery.
The need for a new school in the area was detailed by figures which show a forecasted deficit of 43 secondary places in 2013/14.
This number rises year on year, peaking at a deficit of places for 397 secondary school age children by 2022/23.
Conservative opposition leader Chris Hayward said: "We need to consider the best interests of children in our district, and their education.
"This is a very emotive and sensitive issue and I understand local people's feelings run high. We have been under pressure for along time now to get a school in the Three Rivers district."
The council's executive committee voted to support the Croxley Green site, with seven votes for and one abstention.
Peter Brooker, head of commuity and environmental service, said: "No site is perfect, they are all difficult, but this is a decision we have to make to go through to the next stage."