Letter from Chapel-en-le-Frith Parish Council

You'll remember that Chapel-en-le-Frith Parish Council gave their unanimous support to keeping Combs School, Village Hall and Chapel open. This is part of the Council's letter to DCC.

The Parish Council have considered the matter fully and were represented at the public consultation meeting at the School on 22 May 2007.

Members were unanimous in their objection towards the proposed closure of the school. The Parish Council Ward Members have been involved in the life of the School and Village Hall over a considerable number of years, working with the Community and The Village Hall Trust to secure grant funding in 1992/93 through the Peak District National Park Authority and in 1996/97 through ACRE to enable the premises to be extended for the benefit of the School and Village Hall. It was noted that since that time there has been an increase in the number of pupils who live within the Parish boundary attending the School. More recently the Council has worked in partnership with the Village Hall Trust to provide play equipment for the community on adjacent land.

Combs Infants School is an outstanding School, which fulfils a proven need within the Parish of Chapel-en-le-Frith. In addition to this the building is a focal point in the community as the Village Hall and Methodist Church. The Village Hall Trust is active within the community and the loss of income that would result if the School were to close would mean that its viability would be seriously compromised along with the provision of a place of worship. The culmination of all this would have a negative effect on Village life.

In rural communities it is important that there is place where the community can come together and the joint use of the building by the School, Village Hall and Church reaches out to the community as a whole, with their viability and long term survival being inter dependant on each other. The delivery by the Countryside Agency of the Rural White Paper underlined this point and initiatives such as the Combs model of joint use of a building were championed and funded. It is felt that Derbyshire County Council has a duty of care to the community as a whole, of which the provision of a School in the community is a part.

For these reasons the Parish Council wishes to lodge a strong objection towards the proposed closure of Combs Infants School.