‘We want answers’ - Mablethorpe community voices concerns about free school plan

Residents in Mablethorpe are looking for answers.
Residents in Mablethorpe are looking for answers.

Residents and councillors in Mablethorpe are unhappy after claiming a consultation meeting - held to discuss plans for the opening of a new free school - left them with more questions than answers.

Representatives from Wellspring Academy Trust held the public meeting at the proposed site of the school in Seaholme Road.

The site was previously occupied by the Mablethorpe campus of Monks’ Dyke Tennyson College. The Mablethorpe campus closed 18 months ago.

Wellspring have submitted proposals to provide education for pupils from primary to secondary school age (5-16) who do not fit into mainstream education.

Some students are already at the school, and were taught in temporary accommodation before moving into the ex-college buildings.

The Academy Trust is planning four new free schools at sites across Lincolnshire - Mablethorpe, Lincoln, Grantham and Spalding.

In Mablethorpe, the new school would eventually cater for 63 pupils.

County Councillor Graham Cullen sent out letters prior to the meeting, so that as many residents as possible could attend and air their views.

He says that around 50 people attended the meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Cullen said: “It was well attended and a lot of residents are not completely ‘for’ the proposals, and have been left with a lot of questions unanswered.

“I am not completely against the plans, but I was told there had been quite a lot trouble around the site when the young people were housed in the ‘Portakabins’.

“But I’ve now been informed that there has been no incidents of note since they have moved into the school building, so that’s good news.”

Coun Cullen added that he doesn’t want to see any child be without educational opportunities.

He said it would be beneficial for the site to offer some form of educational provision, rather than being turned into housing.

Mablethorpe’s Mayor, Councillor Tony Mee, also attended the meeting and said Wellspring had the best of intentions - but claimed their representatives didn’t answer any questions.

He said: “From a PR point of view, representatives from Wellspring Academy Trust did a good job, but they did not answer the important questions that residents were asking.

“Overall, I am still not happy with these plans.”

It is understood residents raised concerns about security measures at the site, and proposals for a possible extension.

According to councillors who attended the meeting, Wellspring representatives said they could not answer the questions because it was a matter for Lincolnshire County Council.

The Leader contacted the County Council, but was told that security measures for the site were a matter for the Wellspring Academy Trust and the Department for Education (DfE).

A spokesman for the County Council added that they ‘knew nothing’ about any extension plans.

He stressed that the authority is a consultee, and explained the process is the responsibility of Wellspring and the DfE.

• The Leader asked Wellspring Academy Trust for a comment on several occasions, but had not received a reply at the time of going to press yesterday (Tuesday) lunchtime.

• If you were unable to attend the meeting, there is still time to make a comment via info@wellspringacademies.org.uk.

The consultation ends on Friday, December 15.