Parents raise concern over plans to build Sheffield school on 'high risk' contaminated land

Parents are concerned over plans for a proposed new secondary school in Sheffield after a report revealed it will be built on 'high risk' contaminated land.

Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 9:06 am
The proposed site for Bannerdale School

A geo-environmental report into the new £25m Bannderdale School site, off Carter Knowle Road, has revealed that there is a risk to human health because the site was previously used for landfill.

But Sheffield Council has reassured people that school will be safe and further investigations are being carried out despite objections from more than 40 people, many concerned about the risk to the health of children.

Proposed site for the new Bannerdale School

According to the geo-environmental report, which has been submitted with the planning application, there is a high likelihood of significant harm to human health caused by the ground gases from the landfill. There is also risk from metals and other substances which exceed the threshold values for human health.

One parent, living on Carterknowle Road, said: "There is actually some level of local support for a new school but just not on the landfill area - this are was previously designated by the council as not being 'fit' for housing. Yet it is seen as 'fit' for a school."

Resident Mark Jayes added: "The geo-environmental desk study makes it very clear that there would be significant risks to human health if construction took place on the playing fields, which are a former landfill site.

"These risks would be to construction workers, school students and staff and also local residents. It is inconceivable that the council is now attempting to build a school on this site when in 2013 they deemed it unsafe for a housing development."

Proposed site for the new Bannerdale School

Siobhan Coughlan, who lives near the site, said landfill was among her many concerns.

She said: "I am also concerned of the safety risk to children with the current site being built on a landfill site. This has previously been highlighted by the council as unsuitable to build on so I don't see anything has changed. Why is it suddenly suitable to build on."

The council is carrying out a detailed investigation into the site and a report, due in the coming days, will reveal any measures that needs to be taken.

A council spokesman said: "To be very clear – we would only put forward a scheme that we know to be safe.

“The document that the quotes are taken from is a phase one, desk-top study that looks at all historical data available for the site. A more detailed, phase two investigation has now taken place, which includes sampling, testing and analysis of the results.

“The results of this phase two investigation will highlight any potential measures that should be incorporated within the proposed school on the Bannerdale site. A report based on the phase two investigation and proposals will be published in the coming days and will be issued to form part of the planning application considered by the board.

“This is perfectly normal procedure and not dissimilar to other school developments that have been undertaken within Sheffield.

"We would stress that there is no cause for concern and the safety of the public remains our very highest priority.”

The council is building the new schools to cope with increasing demand for places in the city. About 5,500 children need Year 7 places each school year, but this is projected to rise to more than 6,100 by 2021.