Plans for free school on Northamptonshire Police HQ site criticised as “appalling and dangerous”

Wootton Hall, Police Headquarters. ENGNNL00520130925110345
Wootton Hall, Police Headquarters. ENGNNL00520130925110345

Plans to open a free school on the site of the police headquarters in Northampton have been labelled “appalling, dangerous and damaging”.

Liberal Democrat county councillor for Delapre and Rushmere division, has hit out at proposals revealed by Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds as part of his plans to relocate the police headquarters from Wootton Hall.

Speaking at a recent Police and Crime Panel meeting, Mr Simmonds stated that he was pressing ahead with the sale of the ageing Wootton Hall site, which houses around 200 police staff, and that his preferred option to replace the premises would be a school. A trust has been set up to oversee the project of building a free school on the site. Trustees include Northampton South MP Brian Binley and former education chief of Northamptonshire County Council Andrew Sortwell.

But Councillor Glynane said: “Building a school here seems to be based entirely on the fact that the Tory Police Commissioner, one of the originators of the plan, controls Wootton Hall.

“There are areas of the town, especially those with planned residential developments, that will require new schools. Here though, Adam Simmonds and the school trust will actually undermine the excellent schools we already have in the area, harming the education provision for the children of Delapre and the surrounding areas.”

Liberal Democrats are also concerned that the site would be unsafe for the students, as it opens directly onto a dual carriageway, he said.

“It’s certainly not an ideal location for a large concentration of children,” Councillor Glynane added.

“This is a half-cocked, appalling idea from a police commissioner that should be concentrating on keeping Northamptonshire safe – not trying to build a legacy by attacking local schools and damaging the life chances of children.”