Tipton residents lay out arguments against school closure

Tipton Primary School flooded in 2008. Ref shs 0151-51-08AW Tipton flood. Picture: Alex Walton

Tipton Primary School flooded in 2008. Ref shs 0151-51-08AW Tipton flood. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Tipton residents fighting to stop the village school being moved to Ottery have formed a campaign group.

Sarah Davidson, speaking on behalf of Tipton St John Action Group (TSJAG), has raised a number of concerns about the move to the site at Thorne Farm, which is currently undergoing a public consultation.

The action group claims proper investigations have not been carried out into how the closure would affect the village, or into the cost and benefits of keeping the school in Tipton.

It claims the proposal is being called a 'relocation' rather than a 'closure' to avoid red tape.

One of the issues with the current site has been flooding, but the group argues the school building has not flooded since 2008 and that, according to the Met Office, that was only because of a 'extreme and exceptional weather event'.

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Although Devon County Council identified a 'risk to life', in 2015, TSJAG points out it the authority has not yet moved children off the site.

The group says the 'escape route' road outside Tipton school did not flood in September 2019, in contrast to the main 'escape route' from the King's School and through Ottery, which did.

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A Devon County Council spokesman said all representations will be reviewed, adding that flooding has affected the school on eight occasions in the past 10 years.

The spokesman said the current lower school site was in the Environment Agency's (EA) highest risk flood category, adding: "That signifies a risk to life and is why the governors, the diocese and the county council have agreed to these proposals."

The spokesman said after 'extensive investigations' it was concluded the school could not be relocated in the village.

He added the Environment Agency, on November 1, advised the council that the 'site floods to a dangerous level' and that 'all efforts should be made' to relocate the school.

Currently 47 children from Ottery and West Hill travel to Tipton to go to school. There are 37 primary-aged children living in Tipton of whom 21 attend the school. The number of new starters in each of the next four years ranges from two to seven.

The spokesman said the proposal would ensure capacity for the Tipton catchment area, as well as supporting growth in Ottery.

Go to www.devon.gov.uk/haveyoursay to respond to the consultation.

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