PRESS STATEMENT: Lib Dems response to SCC decision to scrap plans to rebuild Cranleigh C of E Junior and Infant Schools

August 17, 2020 4:19 PM

Statement from Zöe Franklin, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Guildford, and Cranleigh Lib Dems following the decision by Surrey County Council to withdraw their planning application to build a new Primary School in Cranleigh to replace the current
C of E Junior and Infant Schools.

After at least ten years, the Conservatives Councillors appear to have no plan "B" Cranleigh Liberal Democrats were shocked by the contents of the letter from Julie Iles, the Cabinet Member for All-Age Learning at Surrey County Council (SCC), to Mrs Leadbetter-Simms, the Headteacher of Cranleigh C of E Junior School, advising of SCC's decision not to proceed with a rebuild of Cranleigh Primary School.

For at least a decade the need to update or replace the existing buildings has been recognised by all stakeholders. It beggars belief that the Conservatives, who run Surrey County Council, have failed to exercise their responsibilities in that time. Julie Iles effectively admits that the Conservatives are abandoning our children by going back to the beginning when she says in her letter, "The Council will now also consider how and where else future demand for local school places can be met."

Sadly, Julie Iles blames the school, the community, and other local stakeholders for SCC's decision to withdraw the planning application for a new school. If Councillor Iles was so sure of the benefits, as stated in her letter, why then has she not acted to provide the "improvement in provision" she said would result? Why Surrey County Council did not choose to couch their withdrawal from the projects in terms of "working with the schools, stakeholder groups and other resourcing initiatives to find a better solution to building the new school so badly wanted by the community", is known only to them.

This Conservative Government needs to address the ongoing funding shortfall for schools which has left both Cranleigh Primary and Glebelands schools in this situation. The local Lib Dem team will be doing all we can to work with Cranleigh Primary's staff and Governor teams, along with the local community, to convince the Government of both the need and viability of rebuilding the current school and we call on Conservative-run Surrey County Council to do likewise.