I really miss my mum. In true Yorkshire style, if she said “no” she meant just that. That didn’t mean “later”, “after negotiation”, or anything other than those two letters put together. It meant “no”!
For a whole year this blog has been covering the rebuild of Adwick School, or “Academy” as they now like to call it. From the outset I was clear that I could not support the campaign to save my old school simply for the sake of it. Moreover whilst I of course have a certain wistfulness over its demise, I have praised the design of the new place because I think it is very impressive, as well as better suited to the needs of those who live there today. Nevertheless certain conditions were stipulated for the project to proceed. That these have now been dispensed with shows that for some people a “no” clearly doesn’t mean a “no”….
It has recently been reported in the Doncaster Star that the school no longer needs to reinstate its playing fields. A lot of people are quite angry about this. The argument seems to be that the facilities of the new academy are so good that compared to the old school, with its two playing fields, that what is on offer will be “better by far”. However, this misses an essential point.
Firstly no one is denying that the area of open green playing field has, and will be reduced. For one the new academy, parking, and gymnasium are all built on one of the old fields – as indeed is the new community school too. Now they are going to build a teacher training college by the side of the new academy as well, making still less green space. Yet we read from the above article that the academy isn’t going to be using the area where our demolished school once stood (and by implication) the second lower field.
This raises some very disturbing questions. For my part, I am very glad that I no longer live there. Open space is hardly a problem here in Norway. However, when I was growing up in England, and navigated daily through the maze of streets and housing estates, it was something of a relief to see the expanse of open space either side of my school. Whichever way you approached it, it was bang in the middle of two open fields. I don’t think many consider how important this is for people who do not live in the country as we are fortunate to do over here.
Already then, this space has been reduced, and it is going to be further reduced. Yet we are told that the grounds are not going to be reinstated as playing fields. That begs the question what they are going to be used for. When I read that the planning committee accepted that the grounds could be reinstated at a later date, this seems also to open the possibility that they might not. Even if no-one has any plans to redevelop the area for housing today, if the area is allowed to grow wild it will become unsightly and perhaps that will be the next proposal.
Following the English news by radio, I know that the selling of school fields for redevelopment has been an issue – not in this case but generally. So if one screws the clock back a year, to the time when permission was first being sought for the project, the question is whether people might have objected if they had been told that the area of playing fields would be taken away or very much reduced. To put that another way, if this stipulation had not been given, whether people would at all have put up with what was being proposed.
I think that the answer is “no”. Now the new buildings are almost in place, somebody wants to change the goal posts. There must be a lot of people who feel that the academy got the go-ahead on false pretences. That is why a “no” should mean “no”, not “perhaps” or “later”…
I am glad I no longer live in the Adwick area. It seems that the values I was brought up with have changed a little.