Could Hunstanton Primary School be used for the study of the environment and global warming?
On April 20, the borough council’s director general of environment and planning sent me a letter informing me that changes had been received regarding a request to which I was opposed in 2021.
This application was to develop 11 accommodation in the former Hunstanton First School. I was informed that I had until May 11 to submit comments in writing.
I made several attempts to answer using the scheduling website. Unfortunately, technology has confused me, the way some planning decisions have left me completely perplexed over the past 20 years.
The failure to make sense of the website made me all the more determined, so I updated via email my reasons for opposing the desecration of the much-loved Victorian ‘Council’ school of Hunstanton.
Without describing itself as a community school, it certainly functioned as an integral part of the community. In fact, what we know today as the community center grounds used to be the elementary school grounds. At one point the school itself was to move there, but as Hunstanton expanded southwards it was to be expected that the school would move to the Redgate estate.
Once the children followed the juniors to Redgate and the Victorian school became superfluous, I was by no means alone in thinking that the buildings should continue to serve an educational purpose. Long before the planned redevelopment of the bus station site was made public, arguments were made for moving the library into the school as a very fitting way of paying homage to generations of students and their teachers who had used the buildings forever. since 1875.
With greater recognition of an ever-increasing threat to the environment posed by climate change, the school could serve as a center to study the most effective ways to reduce human-caused global warming. I realize that our local councils have yet to show genuine concern about the threat posed by man-made global warming, in terms of its catastrophic impact on our fragile ecosystem. Nonetheless, now could be just the time to use a redundant school and its surroundings to educate the current generation on the best ways to protect the environment for future generations.
The temporary use of a nearby former Edwardian convalescent home as the town library proves that this locality provides an ideal setting for a new permanent library. Instead of expanding the built environment beyond the school’s original footprint, now would also be the perfect time to turn most of the play space into mini urban forests. This could include all established and self-seeding trees in the gardens of the manager’s house on Valentine Road.
This road was named after John S Valentine, the engineer responsible for delivering the railway line, which served Hunstanton so well from 1862 to 1969. This is reason enough to suggest that the old school could also provide a venue for conferences aimed at finding the best way to revive the railway and restore the city to its former glory.