Campaign petition in bid for new school

MP, Grahame Morris and Kevin Shaw with the petition to support the replacement of Seaham School of Technology after the �16 million plan to build a new complex was scrapped by the coalition government.

MP, Grahame Morris and Kevin Shaw with the petition to support the replacement of Seaham School of Technology after the �16 million plan to build a new complex was scrapped by the coalition government.

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A PETITION containing thousands of names is to be handed into Parliament as part of a fight for a new school.

Seaham School of Technology was due to be replaced with a £16million complex under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative.

But the plans, along with those for hundreds of other schools, were halted after education minister Michael Gove axed the project.

Now Easington MP Grahame Morris is preparing to present a petition showing the strength of feeling about the decision in the House of Commons.

Mr Morris said: “This has strong support and there are a catalogue of things that are wrong with the building and we have still got the issue of children crossing a road to access the playing fields. I cannot think of a stronger case for a new school in the country, let alone the county.

“Costs will grow because the school is in such a bad condition and, apart from anything else, it’s not as if there’s a choice because it’s the only secondary school in Seaham.

“Meanwhile all those in Peterlee have been or are being rebuilt.”

The petition can be signed at Mr Morris’s offices at the Glebe Centre in Murton and is due to be accessible online soon.

The finished document is likely to be presented to the Speaker of the House John Bercow at the next of this month.

Mr Morris will be allowed a 10-minute address, with a reply to be given from the Government.

Other schools in Easington, including Shotton Hall, St Bede’s, Dene Community School and Easington Community Science College, have either had work completed on new buildings or are undergoing improvements under BSF.

Because of negotiations and plans for Seaham School took longer, it had not started when Mr Gove made his decision.

Under the BSF scheme, it would have moved from its Burnhall Drive site to part of former Seaham Colliery’s land and was designed to incorporate space for a new leisure centre to be built as part of a separate programme of work.

Durham County Council’s legal team is looking at whether a recent High Court case, where four council’s successfully took action against the Government for scrapping BSF, has any implications for its own schemes.