The Parks - Frequently Asked Questions
10 October 2023
Please find our latest letter to residents here.
21 September 2023
Please note that in respect of our use of our school playing fields at The Parks, we are still investigating and evaluating all of our options.
No final decisions have been made and the letter dated 15th September was our initial communications to residents. We have collated the below FAQs, but please bear in mind some of these answers are provisional at this stage until our final plan is confirmed.
There are some concerns about consultation meetings having already been held and residents not correctly informed. Please be assured that Haygrove School has not held any consultation meetings with the community about this.
This is not a situation we would like to be dealing with, however Haygrove School are facing an extremely challenging time which is not of the school’s, the Trust’s or leaders’ making. We do not have enough space on site to deliver our PE curriculum due to extensive temporary accommodation and closed area around the main building. The land remaining was left in an unsatisfactory condition from the initial building work and is unusable for winter sports, as it presents risks to our students.
Taking our students off site to fulfill their sports curriculum is a last resort. However, we will endeavour to do this in a safe and considered manner. We really do appreciate the importance of this space to the local community, and we want to work with you to make a temporary solution work, for use of the school land, for school purposes, if this proves to be the most viable option.
How will the children be getting to and from the temporary sports ground?
If the decision is made to use this site, then our students will be walking to and from the facilities accompanied by our staff. We understand the pressure on local parking and therefore would not wish to add to this.
Will the end of lessons on the sports ground coincide with the end of school time?
With our current extended day, this will be unlikely. However, if we do go with The Parks options, we would look to review our timetable to avoid any clashes with high footfall in the area to ensure we transport our students safely on foot and maintain the safety of local primary school commuters.
Is the fencing a temporary measure and will it be removed once a solution is found?
Yes, it is our intention that any fencing be of a temporary nature and removed once the facility is no longer needed. This will be when students can continue their PE education on the Haygrove School site. Following a risk assessment, fencing is necessary for safeguarding and safety the 11-16 year old students who would be using the site.
Will the area still be accessible outside of school hours by local residents for games, exercising, socialising etc.?
Dogs will not be allowed within the fenced area to prevent risk to students linked to dog faeces, which can cause blindness due to toxoplasmosis. The fenced area will be available to the general public outside of school times and use, but dogs will not be permitted.
How much of the area will be fenced and can you supply details about the fencing eg. Height?
The area to be fenced will be the whole of the former Girl’s Grammar school playing field, using grid mesh fencing as per link - https://firstfence.co.uk/mesh-fencing/mesh-sheets.
Why cannot the school use its own field?
Haygrove School are facing an extremely challenging time due to safety concerns with the main building. We have lost three quarters of our grassed area which was already below the minimum for a school of Haygrove’s size. We do not have enough space on site to deliver our PE curriculum due to temporary accommodation, the required area around the closed main building and the location of the medium-term temporary buildings. The land remaining was left in an unsatisfactory condition from the initial building work and is unusable for winter sports, as it presents risks to our students.
What about the trees with TPOs?
The trees subject to the Tree Preservation Orders will remain unaffected other than essential health and safety works to remove lower branches. Our trees are inspected on a periodic basis to ensure they pose no risk.
At times, there can be occurrences of anti-social behaviour on the land. Would the proposed fencing adversely affect the natural surveillance over the space?
The fencing proposed will be been carefully selected to be least impactful. The green mesh style is a proven solution to provide a secure but subtle boundary treatment.
Have you thought of using the Cricket club? It is fenced off with toilets and storage.
We are in discussion with the Cricket Club regarding use of their facilities. There are concerns that a cricket field and wicket will not support football and rugby. The Cricket Club have already expressed concerns about the loss of use of their practice wicket on this site.
What about the cricketers who use this area? Are they going to be able to use that space in 2024? Has anyone spoken to them?
The Cricket Club met with us as part of our investigation into other spaces. We have had and will continue to have regular conversations with them regarding this situation and will work with them in the interest of all concerned. Currently the Cricket Club use the playing field under license.
Is the Fairfield not an alternative option?
The school does not have permissible access rights to the Fairfield, would not be allowed to partition off through fencing and the open format of the Fairfield, which is used as a dog walking area and toilet is not an environment which we can expose our students to.
Have you considered the sports facility available at Willow Down? It is a fenced playing field with changing rooms and parking for a coach.
The solution needs to be local and preferably accessible on foot and within easy walking distance, without costs for the school or loss of student teaching and learning time.
What other space is being considered? For example, St Matthews Field that isn't situated in a residential area.
Haygrove’s playing fields at Furze Close is one of several options currently being investigated. However, the limiting factors are the cost of transport and reasonable travel distance within the already extended 2-hour lesson time. Use of the alternative option space by the general public, giving rise to safeguarding issues.
Is there any indication of how long this situation would last?
In the interest of full transparency, we are not able to provide a time scale for this. Things are moving at a rapid pace at Haygrove School, and it is our aim to find a solution as quickly as possible and for a replacement building that will free up the playing field. You may be aware that the school are strongly in favour of relocating the school to the Queens Wood Farm area and are in the process of pursuing this line of enquiry.
Who owns the land?
The freehold for the school playing field at Park Road is owned by the Quantock Education Trust for use by Haygrove School. The local community have enjoyed the benefits of its use by ‘grace and favour.’ This is a temporary solution to an immediate problem.
Will you be applying/have to apply for planning permission? Will there be an opportunity to object to the proposal?
The use of the land as a playing field has never been surrendered and therefore is an existing planned and permissible use of the land.
How can I contact you further to discuss this?
If you have any further questions, please contact the school: firstname.lastname@example.org