On 8th October 2008 the Schools Adjudicator issued a report on the proposed new Wheatersfield Primary School in Lower Broughton which was set to replace Charlestown Primary and North Grecian Street Primary.
"The issue of a potential flood risk was raised at the public meetings I held in connection with this proposal. It is clear that these risks were underestimated by the Council…"
For the Council it was back to the drawing board which delayed everything for almost a year, and then they came up with an ingenious plan – the "escape route".
Running a metre above ground level, the "dry escape route" or "emergency access", will run from the school to the sanctuary of the Church of Ascension, around 100 yards away, accessed via a series of ramps and steps.
The planning application for the school, which was passed by the Council last week, notes "Flooding was identified as a serious and fundamental issue to address for the development proposals"
The answer? Stick the school on stilts and add on an escape route…
Meanwhile, because of the flood risk, no changing rooms are being built on the site of the school's playing fields. Instead, users of the pitches will be expected to get changed at Fit City on Camp Street, 0.6 miles away. The Council estimates it would take teams up to six minutes to get there which is "acceptable" – especially if you've done your ankle in while playing footie, of course. Teams that use Fit City will have to pay £300 a season to use the facilities during existing opening hours and "additional staff costs" outside opening hours.
Flood risks? Escape routes? Pitches with no changing rooms? Wouldn't it have been easier to keep open and do up the two primary schools that nobody in the community wanted shutting in the first place?