Possibly the world’s most wrongheaded invocation of the Children Act 1989:
Letters page, North Somerset Times, 1 August 2012:
The Children Act requires that public bodies do what is in the best interests of the child, and in court proceedings a court shall have regard in particular to the ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned (considered in the light of his age and understanding); and his physical, emotional and educational need.
However, the plans to create two primary schools at the High Down site in Portishead smack of what is best for the council.
How can it be better for the child who lives in the bottom end of town to go to school at the tope end of town, with all of the extra car journeys, CO2 emissions and congestion that this will involve?
What about parents who will have one or more children in a school at the bottom of town, but will have to bring one or more other children to the top of town?
The council needs to take its consultation obligations seriously.
The views of children and parents have to come first.
Local residents are entitled to a say as well.
Councillors should take heed of these views, particularly if they really believe in democracy, and not impose their ill-considered decisions on us.
After all, it is the council and councillors who have created the shortages of school places in Portishead in the first place, through their inadequate planning.
The appearance that the council has a fixed positions, and is only going through the motions in its consultation, is enhanced by the statement by the council official in last week’s paper saying that “we are aware (that) travel, transport and potential congestion around the schools is one of the concerns and we will do all we can to minimise these”.
Given that the council has done nothing about these problems in recent years, we can take that statement with a large pinch of salt.
Paul Dunn, The Deans, Portishead.
Whilst resisting the urge to comment on the specifics, I do make the general observation that it is the Government’s policy that there should be many many more litigants in person, much much less state funded legal advice, and that a little knowledge of law is a dangerous thing.