Call for Silsden school to be expanded as demand rises

Craven Herald: Bradford district and Silsden town councillor Adrian Naylor Bradford district and Silsden town councillor Adrian Naylor

Councillors and headteachers in Silsden and Steeton have called for the expansion of one of Silsden’s schools.

They believe a new classroom block at Aire View Infant School, in Elliott Street, is the best option to meet increased demand for school places.

The decision formed a response to Bradford Council’s annual consultation over future primary school admissions.

Adrian Naylor, a Bradford district and Silsden town councillor, called a meeting to gain a comprehensive view of Silsden and Steeton's needs.

Present were Steeton Parish Council chairman David Mullen, Silsden Town Council chairman Chris Atkinson, Steeton Primary School head John Cooper and Aire View head Vicky Bottomley.

Coun Naylor said Bradford Council had suggested either a new-build at Steeton Primary School or a reorganisation at Aire View Infant School, meaning a total increase of 105 pupils.

Coun Naylor said those at the meeting preferred to expand Aire View by building a new classroom block rather than internally reorganising the existing Victorian school.

He said: “We are regularly told at planning panels that we have reached capacity for primary school places.

“The best solution is obviously to plan for a new school to cope with the additional children all the new housing planned for this area will bring.”

But Coun Naylor added there was little money available for such an option.

Coun Mullen said he would have liked to see Steeton Primary School expanded, but the existing site lacked space for a new- build without reducing the playground.

He said: “The access to the school is severely restricted and would cause additional problems when children are dropped off and picked up, especially given its close proximity to Steeton lights.”

Coun Atkinson said: “We need to protect the land in Silsden which has been earmarked for a potential new primary school for decades.

“Bradford needs to hold on to it until a proper plan for the whole area has been thought through, otherwise it could be sold and then we get the additional housing but nowhere to put a new school which is what happened in Steeton.”

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