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Allotment-holders in tears as permission is granted for new school

Edgerton to get 420 place school on allotments site

A visual of the proposed location for a new school at Clare Hill

Another new primary school should be built in Huddersfield by next year.

A £10m 420-place primary school at Clare Hill playing fields behind Highfields Community Centre has been given the nod by Kirklees councillors.

The land, off Cambridge Road, is owned by Greenhead College, who are now set to sell it to the council with a view to the school opening by September 2018.

But the proposal has angered Sport England, the government quango in charge of promoting grassroots sport, and dozens of allotment holders who are set to be turfed off their plots.

Sport England sent council planning officers an angry letter after promises about mitigating the loss of one football pitch weren’t met.

It was thought Greenhead College would allow Kirklees Council to open up its pitches for community use as part of the deal.

The college has refused, saying it fears they will be “churned up” by constant use.

In response, the scheme was adjusted to create a new Sport England standard pitch on a council owned allotment site to the north of the Clare Hill pitches.

At Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee, allotment tenant, Debby Fulgoni, spoke up against the plan to destroy decades of work by dozens of gardeners.

“I’ve seen 70-year-old men with tears in their eyes over this,” she said.

“There’s no need to destroy allotments for the sake of one football pitch. People are devastated.”

Cemetery Road Allotments, Birkby.

The council has vowed to re-home all the tenants at adjacent and nearby sites, including at Clayton Fields and Fartown.

It says it will pay for greenhouses and sheds to be moved or replaced.

But Mrs Fulgoni said: “Many are saying they’re too old to start again from scratch.

“They’ve put 30 years of their lives into these, it’s too late.”

Members of the committee said they were sympathetic but the loss of allotments was the only downside to the vital plan to create school places in north Huddersfield.

“It’s not ideal that allotment holders have to move,” said Clr Carole Pattison.

“But we have to bite the bullet and I’m glad to hear arrangements to help them relocate are in place.”

The new primary is set to be a so-called free school – an academy that is run independently from the council.

About 40 new jobs will be created at the school.

Access will be from Cambridge Road and Cemetery Road, which will be upgraded with a new footpath and parking on both sides of the carriageway.

Some parking on Cambridge Road will be removed.

A new pedestrian crossing could be installed on New North Road near Cemetery Road.

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