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Residents are deeply frustrated with primary school expansion plans

Home / Blog / Residents are deeply frustrated with primary school expansion plans
I read with interest the views expressed in the letters page of this week’s Sittingbourne News Extra over the apparent unjustified hostility towards Tunstall School regarding its expansion plans.

From the many opinions expressed on this subject that I’ve heard and believe that is quite a few now, I have not heard one that shares the view that the relocation of the school to a new site is a good one.

However I suspect that author of the letter hasn’t quite understood the proposals at hand.

Firstly no one I’ve spoken with has any wish to see the existing school closed, quite the opposite, but that is exactly what the plan is and one which the letters author does not appear to have grasped.

The plan is the relocate the school to a new site on the corner of Ruins Barn Road and Tunstall Road in what is currently open farmland / playing field so that it may cater for a significant increase in pupils.

The general consensus of opinion would seem to have serious concerns that this expansion, along with others such as the plans for Iwade, is about the creation of super-sized primaries to cater with intake from an area far beyond the respective school’s own catchment areas.

We must all be aware by now that school traffic is a major issue, so it is difficult to see how creating fewer and larger primary schools in locations not consistent with the citing of either previous decades worth of new housing nor that which is currently envisaged can constitute sound and sustainable planning practice.

In fact I would go as far to say that this appears to be more of an afterthought from a County Council which only recently had a programme for closing down primary schools.

Residents of Tunstall fear that the relocation of their primary school to a site on the outskirts of the village will have a detrimental impact on village life.

They also suspect that the development outside of the village will have ramifications for the greater extension of the town into open countryside and along with the prospect of the expansion of the Kent Science Park would effectively see Tunstall merged into the town.

Surely more joined up thinking between Swale Borough Council and Kent County Council is required so that the future larger housing developments can facilitate the placement of new primary schools within the same site to serve the residents who live there, rather than forcing large volumes of traffic on to the network to reach schools on the other side of town.

This is nothing less than a colossal failure of the planning system. 

Andy Hudson


Showing comments 1 to 6 of 6



I lived for the first 25 years of my life in the parish of Tunstall, my life has taken me to Tonbridge. I still have strong links with Tunstall, due to realatives, friends and with parents and grandparents lying in the churchyard.

Regarding the proposal for the new village school, I saw the proposed new plan which would in my opinion totally change the village as we know it. I agree, that a new school must be built, but why on this land? Once the countryside is built upon it is rare that this is ever undone.

I would have thought there was no better place for the site of the new school than the disused chalk pit on the left hand side going down Cromer’s Road, it could easily take up the vast volume of traffic that will flow into the village and ruin what is a peaceful place. Is it too late for an appeal? Also, it would take up what is now a complete waste of land!

I look forward to hearing from you.

kind regards,

Comment by Jack Brenchley on 04 Jun 2014
I would add that I wonder how many people realise that Swale Borough Council accepted a minor payment from the developer of Eden Village in lieu of a new primary school which was proposed when the scheme was first planned.  Surely the Council should have had greater forsight for the needs to school places rather than fill their purses in this instance.
Comment by Ben on 17 Feb 2014
Firstly, there is considerable support for the new school. You only have to look at the Tunstall Mums Facebook page (many on there giving support are not mums! ).

 Secondly it is a documented fact that Sittingbourne needs more primary school places, so new builds are inevitable. The field for the build belongs to KCC and has been earmarked as a site for a school for many years and funding had now been secured for a two form entry school..... certainly not supersized as described by Andy Hudson.

The vast majority of those opposing the new school have never bothered to visit the current site and so have no idea of the conditions that pupils and staff have to work in. The lack of space on the current site, which is not fit for 21st century education means rebuild on the current site is not viable ( the many other reasons  were clearly explained during one of the pre-planning meetings at Minterne school that very many local people attended
Comment by heather on 10 Feb 2014
I was brought up near tunstall and the village was lovely, with a gorgeous village school.

I always used to say that when i had a child i would want him or her to go there. 
I now have a child who is due to start school shortly and am deeply sadened to hear of the recent plans. Why build a larger school and make it the same as all the others.
It will worsen traffic and ruin the countryside.

I also recently visit the tunstall mums facebook page.  Who are some of these people??
I notice many are not even from the area. I certainly would not like to associate with some of these people. 
Do they not have anything better to do during the day apart from moan about their lives?

My family who greatly care about the tunstall community recently posted fliers opposing the recent plans.
One of the mums has stated we tried asking the elderly residents for money. THIS IS SLANDER! 
How dare you
Comment by Sarah on 10 Feb 2014
Surely Tunstall school should be for our local children and not for pupils living as far as Iwade.   I agree I think moving the school to the said place opens up the question why moving to this location is it for the future plans of more housing and motorway access for the park that KCC and local council are planning
Comment by Yvonne read on 20 Nov 2013
Interesting that the land behind my house (im in Shurland Avenue) on the Eden village development was originally earmarked for a school but it was deemed unnecessary. This land would have been perfect. Instead, of course, the greedy developers merely crammed in more houses.
Comment by carole dunk on 20 Nov 2013
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