Many people have told me this week how upset they are about the proposed ten-storey flats that are planned to be erected on the former Saint Clement's
Hall site.

Chris Ward, owner of the Gusto fromagerie and delicatessens in Elm Road, was the organiser of a peaceful protest and led hundreds of lie minded locals in a 'march against developers' during the summer.

He told me:

"Local residents are nothing short of appalled at the prospect of this proposal for a ten-storey block of flats on the former St
Clement's Hall site which was demolished earlier this year, despite overwhelming disapproval from local residents.

A sustained campaign failed to save the hall and stop it falling intothe hands of developers.

If the plans for this block of flats are approved, it will have a devastating effect for Leigh. We tried so hard to save the hall because it was an integral part of the spirit of the town.

This proposed building would be totally out of keeping with its surroundings.

It seems as though the architect is trying to create a
monument to himself rather than consider how the building would fit in with its location.

It would further disrupt and increase traffic and add pressure to an already overcrowded infrastructure.

This building will benefit no-one except its developers."

And Chris Ward is by no means alone in his perspective.

I asked around 60 people including mums in the playground, local shopkeepers and my
neighbours how they felt about this proposal and NOT ONE person said they thought it was a good idea.

In fact, most people I asked had quite strong
negative feelings towards the idea.

At the risk of my blog's becoming too samey, I have to say that the over development of Leigh has become a major source of irritation and upset for
residents and the local council should take heed because the next councillor/s who actually listens to the voice of Leigh and stops granting permission for ludicrously out of character buildings and bars, will almost certainly have a majority vote!

It's that time of year again!

Talk in the playground of late, has increasingly turned to secondary education and the loved and loathed, 11+.

The prospect of passing or failing this exam brings out the worst in competitive parents and I have to say, I
am rather tired of hearing about "having to hire private tutors because the junior school

"just hasn't prepared them."

What a lot of tosh.

We have fabulous primary schools in Leigh.

Ofsted reported that Leigh Infants was one of the top scoring institutions in Essex and West Leigh is well known for its academic excellence.

Chalkwell, Fairways, Blenheim and Darlinghurst are also lovely schools so just what are parents complaining about?

I do appreciate that there are children who just need a bit of help to learn exam technique, and this help could make the difference between an 11+ pass or fail

However, if a parents has barely ever read a book to their kid or nurtured a passion for learning, then calling in a tutor at the111th hour
(parden the pun), is almost certain to futile.

Let me be clear, I am most certainly not against encouraging your kids in every possible way, especially with education but some of the pushy parents I've met recently seemed more concerned with being able to say their child is going to a grammar school than having any real insight and regard for what establishment would best suit their little darling.

For some, there's kudos to be gained in having a kid at a grammar.

Belfairs High has suffered a gross injustice of reputation too.

I have lost count of the number of parents with completely unfair hostility and negativity towards the school.

"Oh I don't want my Tallulah going to that grotty place, it's full of chavs, ne'er do wells, etc." is a line I have heard trotted out on numerous occasions and it makes me really cross.

My eldest son went to Belfairs and is now in his second year at university.

His education was exactly right for him and like hundreds of the other students, he flourished.

The teachers were caring and conscientious and I
always enjoyed good rapport and communication with the school.

Most of my son's friends went onto study for degrees in higher education too and those who didn't opt for university now have apprenticeships or full
time employment.

Out of all the large crowd of friends he knocked about
with, I don't know one who isn't either working or in education.

And guess what, they're not 'chavs' either, but nice kids from nice, ordinary families.

My second son is still at the school and I'd be more than happy for my other kids to go there too.

It's spiteful and dangerous to create this self fulfilling prophecy and label ten-year-old children as 'successes' or 'failures' based on the results
of one exam.

It's also derisory to encourage grammar schooled children into elitist thinking by instilling into them they are somehow a better quality of human being because they're not at the local comprehensive or high

And this judgemental thinking is often reinforced at home.

How on earth does it make a child feel to hear its parents talking negatively about a local
'crap school' only to find that come September, they're going there?

It's the parents with the misguided and snobbish issues and attitudes towards education, not the kids!

So let's not label them before they've even embarked on the next stage of their education!