Growing call for more consultation over Easebourne school expansion plan

Easebourne Primary School
Easebourne Primary School

Calls are growing for an extension to what has been described as the ‘severely limited’ public consultation over plans to double the yearly intake of pupils at Easebourne Primary School from 30 to 60.

The deadline for responses was yesterday (Tuesday, November 29) but it has emerged that neighbouring schools were not consulted, parents remain in the dark and efforts to respond online have been thwarted when the link on the county council’s website failed.

Midhurst town councillor Steve Morley, who attended the only consultation event to be held, which was at Easebourne School on Monday, November 13, has already voiced concerns about the ‘flawed’ consultation.

Following the failure of the online link, he told the Observer: “People have simply not been able to take part and the county council has got to run it again.”

Governors at Midhurst Primary School have also hit out over ‘severely limited’ public consultation.

In an open letter to West Sussex County Council, chairman and vice chairman Edward Roberts and Joanna Oomen claimed there would be ‘very strong grounds’ for a judicial review if expansion went ahead.

They said the first they knew of the plans was when a document was emailed to the school office – not the headteacher – ‘devoid of any reference to the importance of the documentation’.

In the strongly worded letter, the governors said the common perception was expansion plans were a ‘done deal’. As such the county council had not taken all the required steps, all the relevant facts into consideration, nor conducted a proper consultation.

The governors want the consultation period extended and widened to include all those affected.

“We are looking for an open and honest dialogue about future possibilities for the expansion of primary school places in the Midhurst area,” they told West Sussex County Council.

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