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Academy will ruin our lives'

PUBLISHED: 16:51 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:40 23 August 2010

FEARS: Peter and Jacqui Ramsay.

FEARS: Peter and Jacqui Ramsay.

A RETIRED couple are spearheading a fight against plans to build a new academy, claiming it breaches their human rights. Peter Ramsay and wife Jacqui feel betrayed by the county council over plans to create a new Longfield Academy that will back onto t

A RETIRED couple are spearheading a fight against plans to build a new academy, claiming it breaches their human rights.

Peter Ramsay and wife Jacqui feel "betrayed" by the county council over plans to create a new Longfield Academy that will back onto their garden fence behind Main Road.

Slamming project leaders for surrounding their retirement home with a car park, they took their case this week to Liberty, which campaigns for British citizens on human rights grounds.

Mr Ramsay said the scale of the plan had grown into "a nightmare" for elderly people living next to the proposed site.

He said: "They want to put five-a-side courts and a car park alongside our homes, the same set up at Leigh Academy with people using them until 11pm at night.

"Doors banging, tyres screeching, floodlights - this is a residential village unlike Leigh.

"There are people living in sheltered housing, many suffering from dementia.

"The sheer audacity and scale of this project has become a nightmare, it's beyond belief and we feel like we have no power to challenge the might of the system.

"We would never have bought our retirement home here two years ago if we knew the scope of what they were intending.

"We are literally fighting for our home now. It will be like living in the middle of a roundabout.

"My wife and I can't sit outside in our garden when the Sunday league football is on, it's 'F' this, 'C' that. The swearing is quite appalling and nothing is done to tackle the litter. We would have that until 11pm virtually all year round."

A lottery grant to fund part of the project needs Sport England's approval, who have insisted the MUGA (multi-use gaming area) courts go on the lower tier of land at the site.

Mr Ramsay added: "They have cited access reasons which is completely farcical.

"The sad thing is there is so much space on the site they could put the car parking and MUGA courts elsewhere. We are not against an academy in principle, nor are we against school children playing."

Outline planning approval for a smaller proposal in 2005 has run out and new plans are yet to be cleared. Colin Anderson has part ownership of a home where his father, David, 78, lives next to the Ramsays.

He said: "I don't know what my dad's going to do, my mum died last year and now they are going to surround him with this scheme.

"We are talking about vulnerable and elderly people, they are being treated as if they don't exist, it's appalling."

A spokesman for KCC said the application is due to be considered by a planning committee on May 26, when residents' comments and letters will be taken into account.

He added: "KCC held a site meeting in April so that residents could express their views to county members."

The normal consultation period for plans has been extended by 14 days so that residents can comment on the amended plans.

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