Say NO to Route 39


NO to Route 39

Route 39 have had their planning application for Steart Farm as the permanent site for their 700 pupil secondary school
REJECTED by 8 votes to 1.

 THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to everyone who has written in.

Latest Situation

The appeal is now going to a Public Inquiry, to be held on 2nd June 2015 at Northam Town Hall, and is expected to last at least five days.


No Support

for Route 39

at Steart Farm

Candidates for the Torridge and West Devon constituency were asked what their views are on the siting of R39 at Steart Farm.

They were also asked whether, if they were to be elected as MP, they would attend the Public Inquiry and what they would do about the planning application.

These are their replies.

Conservative. Geoffrey Cox

As you will be aware, while I support the school now that it is up and running, I have significant reservations about the Steart Farm site and, with this in mind, I have urged those behind the school to consider alternative locations.

I wrote to the Secretary of State at the end of 2014, stressing my concerns about the suitability of the site, and have also requested a meeting to enable me to pass these concerns on in person. Due to the dissolution of Parliament it was not possible for this meeting to go ahead prior to the election, however, if I am fortunate enough to be re-elected then I will look to arrange this as soon as possible.

I would certainly aim to attend the Public Inquiry, although this will obviously depend to some extent on parliamentary commitments.
It is worth noting that the written representations I have made to the Secretary of State have been passed on to the Inspector, and therefore any oral representations made would have no greater impact than those already made.
I hope this clarifies my position on this matter. 

Labour.  Mike Sparling

For clarity, I oppose the development and more broadly Labour will abolish the Tory Free School programme.

UKIP. Derek Sargent

I have always been against building the new school at Steart Farm. It is the wrong location for such a school. If I am the next MP for Torridge and West Devon, I will use all the powers at my disposal to voice my objections, including putting pressure on the Secretary of State and attending the public enquiry. I know all about the local opposition to the school and Ukip's County Councillor Robin Julian has made his opposition well known within the local community. I sincerely hope the school is not given the go ahead to be built at Steart Farm.

Liberal Democrat. Paula Dolphin

A large secondary school being built on this rural site would be 
in the wrong location.
I will use my best arguments to convince the Secretary of State why the site is in the wrong place. e.g access, geographical location, AONB etc…

Yes I will 
attend the Public Inquiry in person.

Green Party.  Cathrine Simmons

I am against the Free School at Steart Farm.  If they choose another unsuitable site then I will object to this too.
Additionally the candidate for North Devon, Ricky Knight states "The Green Party is opposed to all free schools, an oxymoron if ever there was one. We are also against academies, faith and public schools
As a retired teacher of over 30 years, you may rest assured that regardless of whether or not I am returned to Westminster as North Devon's first Green MP, I will do all that I can to ensure that this proposed R39 school is not built. Many new state schools, primary and secondary, are needed to be built in Devon - but not here and not of this type.
And  I would involve myself in a public inquiry to represent my and my Party's views."

Concerns Justified

Fears that the additional water running off the school building, car parks and hard surfaces will have a detrimental effect on Bucks Mills are well founded. The picture below shows the Bucks Mills road after just one night of rain.



Parents Let Down

by Trustees

Following the 8-1 rejection of their planning application for Steart Farm, Route 39 are now going to appeal.

The appeal process could take several months, and with Gove gone and a general election due next May, it is by no means certain approval will be forthcoming. So a permanent school is still years away.

This means children currently in Years 9 and 10, and those coming up in Years 7 and 8, will be studying for their GCSEs in temporary, cramped accommodation.

Compare what is being offered by Bideford College, with their extensive, university standard facilities, and the excellent exam results of Holsworthy Community College, and one wonders why ANY parent should chose to disadvantage their child by opting for experimental Route 39.

The trustees have mishandled the whole planning procedure from beginning to end, badly letting down the parents who were led to believe the school would offer their child an outstanding, state-of-the-art education.

By refusing to consider a plan B, and by alienating the local community, Parish Councils and Consultees, the Trustees have shown a blinkered arrogance that beggars belief.

The exceptionally high attrition rate is evidence of the disillusionment and dissatisfaction felt amongst Route 39 parents. Trying the school for a few weeks (or, in some cases, only a few days) many of them have removed their child and returned to the established local schools.

So far the Trustees have put a spin on every failure, but how long can this farce go on before even the most faithful turn their backs on them?

 Do not let

Route 39


precious AONB