BLUEPRINTS for a state-of-the-art new Ilkley Grammar School in Ben Rhydding have been unveiled as Bradford Council begins a major consultation with residents.
Fields close to Ilkley Riding Centre on Wheatley Lane are the preferred site for a complete rebuild of the school, the council has revealed.
In consultation documents made available for the public in the past week, the council also projects the school’s population will increase from the current 1,551 to 1,950 by the year 2018.
The other options being offered to residents of Ilkley, Addingham, Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston, are: refurbishment and extra buildings on the current Cowpasture Road site, a complete rebuild on Cowpasture Road, and the creation of a new sixth form block at the former Ilkley Middle School site on Valley Drive.
Wharfedale people have until Friday April 3 to choose their preferred option. The council has earmarked the school for some form of redevelopment using funds from the final £200 million phase its Building Schools for the Future scheme.
The first in a series of consultation meetings took place in Addingham last Friday, attended by around 50 people.
Ilkley’s first consultation meeting will take place at the Clarke Foley Centre, Cunliffe Road, from 7pm to 9pm tonight. Another will take place at the Winter Garden, Station Road, from 2pm on Wednesday.
Several sites had been rumoured for a grammar school rebuild including land on Coutances Way and Ashlands field, Leeds Road but the release of the consultation documents is the first public airing of plans on the agricultural fields.
The proposed site layout for the Wheatley Road rebuild puts the main school building on fields to the south of Ilkley Riding Centre, close to the railway line, with new sports pitches on fields along Coutances Way, and a footbridge linking these pitches with the schools playing fields to the north of the A65.
The consultation report says the land is currently in council ownership, and says this option would enable minimal disruption to students’ education throughout the construction phase, unlike work on the Cowpature Road site.
It also says the new site would enable to school access facilities which reflect its aspirations and plans to develop education provision.
The school drew up a vision for its future as part of the bid for BSF funding.
Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Services to Children and Young People, Councillor Michael Kelly (Con, Craven) urges parents, stakeholders and other Wharfedale residents to attend consultation meetings and send their views to the council.
He said: “All options are being considered and the consultation document, which includes outline drawings can be accessed on our web site: www.bradford.gov.uk/BSF.
“The consultation document also includes a response form so that people can look at the document, form a view and return this to us electronically. The consultation concludes on 3 April 2009.”
Many parents are keen to have a bigger site, to guarantee a school place for more children living in the valley.
There is already some concern about the plans a Ben Rhydding. A resident contacted the Gazette this week with worries about potential noise from a school in the peaceful neighbourhood.
He also feared increased traffic on Wheatley Lane could cause problems, and questioned the impact of potentially hundreds of schoolchildren heading out to the nearby shops in Ben Rhydding during their lunch break. Ilkley Riding Centre was unable to discuss the plans this week.
Menston’s consultation meeting will take place at Kirklands Community Centre, Main Street, on Friday March 27, from 7pm to 9pm. Burley's meeting will be at the Queen's Hall, Main Street, from 7pm on Thursday April 2.