Cotham School’s determination to fence off their Stoke Lodge playing fields to “safeguard” pupils and keep the local community OUT has moved quickly from a little over-enthusiastic to stark raving bonkers in a remarkably short space of time.
The BATTLE over Stoke Lodge has been RAGING since 2011 and efforts to keep the city council land, used as recreational space by the community since 1947, public were finally thrown out by the High Court last year when it rejected a Town Green registration by Bristol City Council.
Now Cotham School are going ahead with their unpopular £160k plan to fence off most of the 26 acre site using dubious ‘PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT’ rules signed off by council planning officers. These rules conveniently stop the issue coming to a planning committee, despite the fact that the school’s plans are OPPOSED by the community, their councillors and their MP, Darren “Dipshit” Jones.
Although all is not quite going to plan for the school, who, since moving contractors on to the site in January, have been caught UNLAWFULLY attempting to put fence posts through the roots of ancient and protected trees and close enough to a badger sett to endanger the animals. Both actions are unlawful and the school already has been forced to quickly redraw their plans TWICE while on site.
Quite why the school needs to fence off the land, let alone DESTROY our city’s NATURAL HABITAT in the process, is something of a mystery. Many schools use public land WITHOUT FENCING as playing fields and, even, OFSTED, has agreed there’s no safeguarding reason why the land should be fenced off and the community effectively THROWN OFF THEIR OWN LAND.
Why can’t this annoying little school run by destructive nature-hating loonies share the space?