PUPILS may miss out on their education if they are forced to travel to a neighbouring town to attend sixth form.
Frustrated members of Holywell Town Council gave their views to officers from Flintshire Council on the new Holywell High School – which will also house an infant and primary school.
During a heated exchange, community leaders praised the new development but also revealed concerns over traffic and parking once the new facility is up and running.
There were calls for a sixth form at the site on Strand Walk – with fears that teenagers will be discouraged from staying on at school if they have to travel to a proposed sixth-form hub on Deeside.
Sixth-formers from Holywell High School are set to switch to the new Connah’s Quay hub, which is due to open in 2016.
But Cllr Karen Davies, who is hoping the new high school could incorporate a sixth-form, said it was wrong to expect the children in the area to travel as far as Connah’s Quay every day to continue their education post-16.
She added: “I also think it’s absolutely disgusting that they are going to have a sixth form in Flint but not one in Holywell under current plans.”
Talking about the potential impact on traffic, Cllr Davies said: “The traffic chaos that it is going to cause in the town is going to be absolutely horrendous.”
Cllr Peter Yorke said not having a sixth form will be a major problem for the new school.
“I doubt the wisdom of putting all of our eggs in one basket,” he said.
“I think this is going to discourage people from going on to sixth form.”
Members also asked about finding an alternative site for community groups who use the playing fields where the new site would be built.
David Jones, senior planning officer for Flintshire Council, said he was not in a position to discuss provisions for a sixth-form as that was an issue for the education department – but added there was room for future expansion on the site.
“What I can say is that the building has been designed to double in size if necessary,” he said.
Mr Jones also said traffic issues were a matter for Flintshire Council’s highways department but said there were plans for a drop-off car park, a car park with 60 spaces for staff and visitors, and improved transport access.
“The drop-off is like a small car park – you shouldn’t have any vehicles backing up,” he said.
“There is adequate levels for staff and visitor parking and drop-off access at the site.”
Mr Jones said community groups using local playing fields would need to make an agreement with the schools, or find an alternative location to play for a six to seven month period while building work is undertaken.
The primary and infants schools would be completely segregated from the high school – with entrances at the opposite side of the building as well as two separate sports halls.
Following the discussion with officers, councillors agreed to write to the appropriate departments to get more answers.
Cllr Rosetta Dolphin said: “We should speak to highways. I don’t think 60 parking spaces is going to be enough as it is for three schools.
“And we had a drop-off in Greenfield and it has never worked – the headmaster had to close it down.”
Cllr Phillip McGarry said the town council need to demand to see the report of the road traffic survey carried out by Flintshire Council in January.
“This is going to impact on the whole town,” he said.
“There will be fatalities.
“Cars and buses will be coming in and out of what is a very, very narrow road.”
The council voted in favour of the development, but will write to Flintshire Council with their concerns.
The planning application for the proposed new school is expected to be considered by Flintshire Council in the coming months.