Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Questions remaining of Bristol Cathedral Primary and Bristol Council

It's coming up to 2 whole months now since I learned about the plans for Bristol Cathedral Primary to replace book and resource storage in the Bristol Central Library, a month and a half since I asked questions about the reasoning behind it, and 2 weeks since I asked further questions based on their somewhat ambiguous Q&A, strangely jointly issued with the City Council that has supposedly not made a decision on the plans.

The school asserts that it will, at some undefined point, respond to at least the latter "by other means", feeling a little hurt that I deleted their comment to my blog after they attempted to misconstrue that when I talk of a threat to the library, that I was attempting to mislead you, reader, that they were shutting the library down to replace it with a school. Whether they will ever respond I do not know, they may instead choose to continue their apparent campaign of either ignoring their critics, or to belittle and insult those that are campaigning not actually against additional primary school provision, but against the impact on library services while other options may be available for the school.

However I want to make sure that the questions about this process are clear, and offer again for the school and council to answer them wherever they see fit...but they should be answering them. Remember that you can sign the petition here to show your support for the library and for the city to find a better compromise for the Cathedral Primary school.

For the council:
1. What are the funding plans for the new book storage?
How will the storage of the resources be staffed, secured, and transported? What is the projected ongoing costs associated with the resources of the Central library being located off site?

2. Where is the consultation for these plans?
There has been no public consultation on this move that threatens the efficiency of the library, when is the Bristol public going to get to formally feedback on the plans?

3. Will Bristol Council modernise the Central Library systems without the school plans being approved?
The joint Q&A suggested that the act of the school going into the library would allow the library to modernise, to provide an online listing of resources, etc. Does the council refuse to do this regardless?

4. Does a school being close to it's non-descript 'facilities' matter more than a library being close to it's resources?
One of the reasons given for "need" to move things around, is that the school "needs" to be close to it's existing kitchen and 'facilities'. Does the council rank logistical desires of independent organisations over the logisitical desires of it's own services?

5. How much will the council lose at market rate for the reported £45-60k income from the school for use of the space?
Cllr Richard Eddy has claimed that a market value for the space the school is taking up is in the region of £110k, can the council justify the plans to give away this space to the school at less than market value?

For the school:
1. How much would it cost to construct a kitchen and appropriate facilities for a 420 place primary school?
We know from you that the cost to move the resources (not counting the additional cost of maintaining/staffing it) is up to £600,000. Can you provide where you have worked out that creation of the facilities that you desire to be near will cost more than this amount?

2. Will you refuse to take primary children to the cathedral if they are unable to safely walk to it?
You have cited a "need" to be close enough for kids to walk safely to the cathedral. What do the children need to attend the cathedral for, and if they do need to attend, why must they be within safe walking distance?

3. What are the school's plans for outdoor play space for 420 children?
Something barely touched on so far except for some campaigners, can you detail what you are going to do about providing outdoor play space for this large number of children?

4. Do you believe location to previous school buildings is more important than location close to population need?
There are almost twice the number of primary age students in the wards to the south of Bristol that fail to get in to their first choice primary school, what are your reasons other than wanting to be close to your previous facilities for not building a school at the geographic heart of where parents would greatly appreciate a school on their doorstep?

5. What are your projections for demographics at your school going ahead, especially into the years after the current primary school space crisis?
What are your plans for ensuring that parents do not feel put off from applying to your school because of the cost and safety of getting their child to your school in the city centre? How do you expect the proportion of Bristol families as population in the school compared to those outside of Bristol Council's area to change in the future?

I look forward to seeing, somewhere, responses to these questions as the discussion moves on. I hope Bristol can get some real answers before the council goes through their approval process later this year.

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