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