A SCHOOL with one of the smallest playgrounds in Tameside is to get a much-needed extension – over a road that has not been used for 40 years.
St Anne’s, Denton, occupies a ‘very cramped’ site and its only area for physical education is the yard behind its building.
Now Tameside Council has given permission for that to be made bigger, taking in the Broomgrove Lane site that runs behind it.
The right of way will still be in place but the path, that has not been touched since the neighbouring M67 motorway was opened in September 1981, will disappear.
Headteacher Kirsty Rimmer led the application and the extra space, which will see the reuse area moved there – freeing up another area – will be welcomed.
In a statement, it said: “The school inhabits a very cramped site. It has no playing fields of its own and the only area for PE and play is the rear playground.
“The rear playground is amongst the smallest of any school in Tameside and even this small area is reduced because the school’s waste bins and some storage take up a part of the area.
“To the rear of the school is an area once taken up by a small side-road. This road was truncated when the M67 was constructed and has remained unused since that time.
“There is a public footpath around the side and rear of the school, and it is not proposed to interfere with this – the public right of way will remain unaffected.
“It is however proposed to extend the boundary of the school across the unused side road. The area of the former road would be incorporated into the school.
“This would allow for the waste bins and storage to be relocated into the former carriageway and so free up space for the children to use on the existing playground.”
As well as approximately 160 square metres of extra play area, new gates will be installed, one allowing for deliveries and refuse wagons during the day and another parents and pupils to get in on foot.
The statement added: “This will prevent vehicle and pedestrian conflicts.
“It is felt that this arrangement will encourage more parents to wait within the new boundary and make the neighbouring road safer as fewer parents and pupils will need to congregate in the roadway to the side and rear of the school.”
Tameside Council granted permission without going to its speakers’ panel (planning) committee on condition that work is done between 7.30am and 6pm on Monday-Friday and 8am-1pm on Saturdays.
And if it can be proved the neighbouring footpath has been used by the public for an uninterrupted period of 20 years, the school will need a stopping up or diversion order.