Page last updated at 18:55 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 19:55 UK

New schools merger idea rejected

A recommendation to change merger plans relating to three high schools in Stoke-on-Trent has been rejected.

There have been plans for St Peter's, Mitchell, Berry Hill, James Brindley, Edensor, Blurton and Brownhills to merge into five academies.

Councillors asked for Mitchell to form a new school, at its site, with Berry Hill, instead of linking with Edensor.

But the recommendation was turned down by city council cabinet members at a meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

'Recreational place'

People opposing plans to replace Mitchell and Edensor with an academy in either Park Hall or Adderley Green have said they were going to apply for village green status to try to stop building work.

Margaret Lowe, from the Community School Action Group, has said: "We need to keep those green, open spaces.

"The site they're calling Springfield (in the Adderley Green area) has been a public site for well over 20 years.

"Park Hall has been open since about 1978 and that has been used as a golf course as a recreational place for people of the area."

Preferred sites

City council leader Ross Irving said on Wednesday: "I will have thought that obviously the law will take its course and a consideration will be made for village green status.

"But there has to be proof the area has been used recently as a village green and I don't think in either of these instances that could be proved."

Asked if people were looking at Park Hall or Adderley Green for the new academy, he said he thought those were the two preferred sites and there could be "another couple of options within the locality".

But he added: "Because of ground stability in the entire Berry Hill and Park Hall area, the siting is limited."

Councillors sitting on the authority's Children and Young People's Overview and Scrutiny Committee had asked for plans to link Mitchell with Edensor to be changed, the council said.

It added the decision to turn down the recommendation meant £250m plans to transform secondary and special schools in the city would continue.

Parents and pupils have protested over proposals for the future of high schools in the city.

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