The lack of transparency from the Mayor and Bedford Borough Council on the future of the old Putnoe School site in High View is a source of frustration for everyone in the local area. The council has gone to the trouble to get permission from Government and run a consultation on the future of the site so they can sell the buildings. It is not credible that the council has no potential buyers and no idea what is to happen to the site. It should be open about its intentions, otherwise all that is left is rumour.
The Liberal Democrat Mayor and his Government colleagues at the Department for Education have already made a questionable decision to dispose of the site even though many local schools have rising rolls, are over subscribed and some are using cabins.
We know that some of the playing fields will be used for junior football pitches and providing extra space for the kids at Overdale Tots and Sunflower House - a good use for the space. However, all the council will say is that the school buildings will be sold. To whom? For what? How long will they stand empty?
The site is in a residential area. As locals in many parts of Bedford will know, empty buildings are an eyesore, they lower the character of an area and attract anti-social behaviour. When they’re owned by the council, they’re ongoing maintenance and security is a pointless waste of taxpayers’ money.
The Mayor and his officials need to get their act together and tell people what they intend to do and when.
People are sensible and know that timetables and schemes might change over time. The council should not be secretive and trust residents with information on its plans.