In a far from impressive performance at the last Full Council held in Bootle Town Hall the council leader rounded on concerned-and very well informed- residents and accused them of peddling myths. It was not his finest hour. The local plan has been controversial throughout Sefton and very late changes have justly upset folks. Here in Southport and plot of land designated for industry all of a sudden became a large housing estate.
In Birkdale our chief concern has been with neighbouring West Lancs proposal to build significant numbers of houses hard on the boundary -well away from centres of population within that borough- making it inevitable that those new resident will access facilities in Birkdale where the new homes bonus and the increase Council Tax will not be collected. I specifically challenged the Leader on school places. In his summing up- captured on video- he dismissed such concerns asserting that there were school places. Brandishing a piece of paper he said he had the figures and that Farnborough Rd Junior School had 26 empty places .
The facts are these:
Year 3 - 118
Year 4 - 123
Year 5 - 113
Year 6 - 119
This is a total of 473. The school's standard number per year is 120 ie 480 in the four years.
As they are 3 OVER number in Y4, they actually have 10 spaces in school.
They are over number in Y4 as Sefton admissions have asked us to take children into that year group who have siblings that can be placed in other years in school.
e.g A Y5 place is available, but the Y4 sibling cannot get in. As the family would probably win an appeal, the school has permitted them to start. Each of these cases has gone through In Year fair Access panel.
Of those ten places the overwhelming majority, seven, are in the same year.
This is a very small example but it does illustrate why there is a scepticism about the Leader's assertions