Out­rage for res­i­dents af­ter teacher ‘no-go zone’ com­ment

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A LET­TER from a teacher at King’s School which says Fence Av­enue used to be a ‘no-go zone’ has sparked out­rage.

De­bra Man­ning, head of art at King’s School, wrote a per­sonal let­ter in sup­port of the ap­pli­ca­tions sub­mit­ted to Cheshire East coun­cil to build a new school at Prest­bury and hous­ing on the school’s sites at Fence Av­enue and part of the Cumberland Street cam­pus.

Mrs Man­ning says the school has brought fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit to Mac­cles­field and would con­tinue to do so in its new lo­ca­tion.

She goes on to give her sup­port for new hous­ing at Fence Av­enue.

But in her com­ments she refers to Fence Av­enue as be­ing a ‘no-go zone’ be­fore King’s School moved in.

The let­ter states: “This [the Fence Av­enue ap­pli­ca­tion] would seem to be an ex­cel­lent one and would fur­ther en­hance the re­gen­er­a­tion of the Vic­to­ria Park area and pro­vide Mac­cles­field with the eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble hous­ing that it badly needs. It is not so long ago that Fence Av­enue, the old Girls’ School in­cluded, was some­thing of a ‘no-go zone’ and King’s in­vest­ment in this site back in 1992 would seemed to have paved the way for the re­gen­er­a­tion of the area.”

The let­ter con­tin­ues: “It is now a sought af­ter area and an ideal lo­ca­tion to be re-des­ig­nated for hous­ing, yet 15 years ago no-one would have cared whether this was green belt, brown belt or any other des­ig­na­tion as few would have wished to live op­po­site the Vic­to­ria Flats, hence it is surely only a short time since peo­ple have val­ued the green space. Un­til the Vic­to­ria Park re­gen­er­a­tion, would few have cared?”

The com­ments have sparked out­rage among res­i­dents and those who wish to pro­tect the green belt at Fence Av­enue.

Eileen Furr, who lives on Fence Av­enue, said: “I have lived here for 43 years and raised three chil­dren who were all ed­u­cated at Puss Bank Pri­mary School. The idea that Kings some­how saved Fence Av­enue from be­ing a so­cially un­de­sir­able no-go zone is lu­di­crous and very of­fen­sive. Their ar­rival in 1996 has brought no ad­van­tages. This was a quiet res­i­den­tial av­enue but is now grid­lock morn­ing and evening as so many of the chil­dren ar­rive by car or coach.

“As for not car­ing about the beau­ti­ful Green Belt be­hind Fence Av­enue we have fought many a bat­tle with the pre­vi­ous own­ers of the land who were de­nied plan­ning per­mis­sion on this pro­tected open space.”

An­drew Hal­dane, chair­man of Mac­cles­field Lib­eral Democrats, said: “Res­i­dents who have con­tacted me find this is as pre­pos­ter­ous and in­sult­ing as I do. To claim that King’s oc­cu­pancy of the school site re­gen­er­ated the area is ab­surd. The prop­er­ties around Fence Av­enue have al­ways been de­sir­able and well-cared for. To im­ply that the for­mer High School con­trib­uted to the area be­ing some­thing of a no-go area is an in­sult to for­mer pupils.”

A spokesper­son from the King’s School said: “We be­lieve that King’s in­vest­ment 20 years ago in the derelict school site on Fence Av­enue had a pos­i­tive im­pact on the area. It is a very de­sir­able place to live and ben­e­fits from prox­im­ity to Vic­to­ria Park and the town cen­tre. We be­lieve that our plans will have a fur­ther ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect on the area and the town as a whole.”

De­bra Man­ning de­clined to com­ment.

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