Neighbours’ joy as plan for new Ilkeston school blocked

421 Nottingham Road, Ilkeston
421 Nottingham Road, Ilkeston

Neighbours have fought plans to move a Christian school into Ilkeston - claiming that pupils would be at risk on busy Nottingham Road.

Erewash councillors went against the advice of planning officers who supported the scheme for the disused office block, near the canal bridge and the sharp bend in the A609 on the county boundary.

After the decision of Erewash Planning Committee, Nottingham Road resident Pauline Dewey said: “I am ecstatic because I don’t want a child killed outside my front door.”

Jubilee House Christian School, which is currently based in Stapleford, seeks to help youngsters who have faced problems in mainstream education. It planned to teach up to 75 pupils in the new unit.

Director and school governor David Farnsworth said it was a charity and had enjoyed “great educational success.” It was aware of neighbours’ concerns and had already made arrangements to reduce noise while parents would be made aware of parking restrictions.

“Given the chance, it could become a valuable asset to the community,” he told councillors at the meeting at Long Eaton Town Hall.

Derbyshire highways officers had outlined concerns and the school suggested using a minibus for some pupils. Others would be brought in by staff or encouraged to walk, cycle or use public transport.

But councillors were told that pupils could not be forced to use the minibus and parents could not be barred from taking them to class by car.

In a statement read to the meeting, Cllr John Frudd said: “It is far too dangerous for children. A tragedy will almost certainly happen. Please don’t do it and put children’s lives at risk.”

Cllr Alex Phillips said: “There are very much better sites in Erewash than an outdated industrial site on one of the busiest highways in Erewash.”

Cllr Louis Booth suggested school officials could look at taking over the Albion Leisure Centre, which has been closed for several years. Another alternative was to use Bennerley Fields School.

Cllr James Dawson warned members: “There is the hump-backed bridge over the canal. It is literally a blind spot as you come over the bridge.”

Local residents were the best witnesses to the road safety dangers, said Cllr Ted Bishop, who added: “It is even unsafe on the pavement.”

After the vote, Nottingham Road resident Lynne Ball, who works with mentally handicapped people, said: “It is the first time I have witnessed democracy in action. It has come through as very open and fair.”