WHY is the Queenswood Farm option still being considered as a relocation site for Haygrove School?

At the recent open meeting the county council admitted that comparative costs for the three sites had not yet been worked out, although their business plan had been submitted for approval. How can they plan a multi-million pound project and decide, which is the preferred option without the accurate costs before them?

This is especially worrying as the move to Queenswood Farm is reliant on the sale of the existing site to provide the funding for the massive infrastructure required for the new site, plus a bridging loan in the region of £1 million. As land prices are falling, there is likely to be a shortfall in the capital achieved and we were informed that any shortfall would have to be funded with public money - in other words, increased council tax for every household in Bridgwater.

Two hundred and fifty homes would be built on the existing site, adding to the already severe traffic congestion in the town.

Queenswood Farm involves huge investment, as it requires the widening of two major roads - the A39 and Spaxton Road, together with Skimmerton Lane, plus the purchase of land along the route and the challenging (their own words) service provision difficulties.

The cheapest and most sensible option is to rebuild on the current site with the sport pitches at Haygrove Farm, which could be funded by the sale of the existing Penrose site. However, we were told by Ms Ridge that this option is not so educationally viable, as a split site would be detrimental to pupils' education.

Many schools, including three of Somerset's leading schools, Millfield, Taunton and Sidcot schools, have playing fields on a separate site. Does this mean that students in these schools are being given a sub-standard education?

There is also a serious safety issue at Queenswood Farm, which was strenuously voiced by parents at the meeting. There are no houses at street level along Spaxton Road and this would be a dark and unsafe walk in the winter. The current 30mpt limit is ignored and a wider road would cause increased speed.

Children would be cycling or walking along a narrow combined footpath/cycle track facing the oncoming traffic and as the only access to the school is via two fast major roads, parents felt that children's safety would be compromised.

A show of hands at the end of the meeting overwhelmingly indicated that the split site was the preferred option and that Queenswood Farm should not be considered, due to cost, the resultant increase in council tax and the safety of pupils.

It appears that while the county council were prepared to listen, they have no intention of acting on the wishes of parents and residents and the failure to allow more than 45 minutes of question time on such an important issue gave the distinct impression that the decision had already been made and that the meeting was purely a PR exercise.

Bob and Carol Collard Cothelstone Close Bridgwater