We’re NOT closing!


A head teacher in Botley has denied suggestions that her school is in danger of closing.

Sian Tomlin, the head of Botley School was forced to write to worried parents after they had received a letter from Botley Cllr Rupert Kyrle claiming the school was in danger of closure if more houses were not built locally.

The letter also stated extra homes were needed in order to combat air pollution, eventhough housing is a major source of emissions.

The Lib Dem Councillor had told parents:

“The number of children at Botley school has been declining over the years.

Unless we see more family homes in the area we will see our school closed with children forced to go to school in Hedge End.”

In her letter to parents Ms Tomlin responded by saying:

“(Councillor Kyrle’s) letter claims the number of pupils at the school is declining and that the school is in danger of closing.”

Can I reassure you that is categorically not the case. Numbers of pupils in the school are rising. Last year we had some 253 pupils today we have 279. We are currently turning pupils away and have a waiting list. There is no threat of closure to the school in fact if anything we need to expand!”

The head went on to say she was ‘dismayed’ the school had not been contacted to verify the claims which she said she felt had been made for a ‘very political purpose’.

Meanwhile, over on Northcliffe Digital Media’s dead duck ‘Hedgeendpeople’ site (currently up for sale – a snip at £7k!) Independent Hedge End Town Councillor Keith Day wondered why Cllr Kyrle had voted against the Borough draft plan as the letter was so strongly in favour of it?

This immediately started speculation that Cllr Kyrle had not authored the note himself, which according to the imprint, had been published and promoted on his behalf by Councillor Anne Winstanley.

One local 54 year old, who did wish to be named, reacted angrily to the news:

“There is no way Cllr Kyrle would  have written a letter like that  as he has made it quite clear that he is only in favour of more housing provided it is nowhere near him.

“But the question remains, who on earth would be prepared to put out such a load of ill-formed and poorly researched scaremongering tosh like that?”

Photo: Botley School

  6 comments for “We’re NOT closing!

  1. Peter Stewart
    October 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

    There’s something in that letter which alarms me and it is not about the school.

  2. maureen
    October 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Surely, this sort of action brings the office of Deputy Mayor into disrepute – and he expects to be Mayor next year – if he gets re-elected! No wonder we’re all fed up with politicians. and if Cllr Kyrle doesn’t write his own letters can somebody tell me who writes them for him?

  3. October 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    HedgeEndPeople a “dead-duck”…?

    Well it has certainly not been the same for the last 12 months, since the owners declined to renew the local journalists contract. The excellent local news stories that Caroline Wrigley wrote are seriously missed.

    HedgeEndPeople is just a hyper-local social networking site at the moment, missing the input from professional journalists. It is certainly not in the same league as Eastleigh News.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      October 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      Ooppsss! Did I say £7,000 for the hedgeendpeople franchise?
      That’s the price ex-vat so make it £8,400 – for the first six months so it’s really £17k a year then.
      Tops they were paying community publishers like wiggly £5k-£7k pa so it’s a big gain for A.N.D.

      You would be paying £17k a year for a site over whch you have no control – you can’t alter the look or personalise at all and to which you don’t even own the URL!

      Th LP sites were designed to be a kind of local cross between Mumsnet and Facebook with the empahsis on CHAT not on local news – but they simply can’t compete.

      AND are saying you could earn £5k a MONTH from one of their sites.
      Yeah, they say they are going to give away £60k pa worth of business for a £17k pa fee – they also seem to be suggesting they are making £6 million pa from their uk sites!

      They also have a lot of overheads – managers and area managers with company cars, offices etc.

      This is a last throw of the dice here – if they can’t get people to take the sites off their hands then IMO they will cut their loses and close them…so maybe not quite a dead duck but certainly a dying one.

      Try this for some recent research on LP sites


      The study finds

      “independently-run hyperlocal websites are better at holding local politicians to account than what it terms ‘Big Media,’

      while LP boss admits:

      “our sites were never set-up to be political blogs or drive the local political news agenda.”

      If you haven’t done so already here s what a profitable independent hyperlocal site looks like:


  4. October 28, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Interesting stuff. The thought of taking it on did cross my mind, briefly, 12 months ago, but I realised there was little or no chance of making any money out of HedgeEndPeople. As you rightly say, why pay big money for a site that you have little control over…?

  5. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    October 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Yes it is crazy, you would have more control over a free blogger account than one you are paying £17k for – and there is nothing to stop someone starting a rival website using free software on ‘your’ patch and taking traffic and advertisers from you.
    I was approached by AND in March 2010 – they offered to buy Eastleigh News and close it – I would then be the community publisher for ‘Eastleighpeople’.

    I offered to change the name of Eastleigh News to Eastleigh people and they could use all the advertising space but they didn’t want it – I had to adopt their interface.
    This went right against their original business statement that they would work with and seek to integrate existing hyperlocal sites – what they meant was ‘we are going to buy them out if they are on turf we want’.
    I too looked at taking on hedgeendpeople but the price is ridiculous – if I thought three was the slightest chance I could make £60k from an initial £8.5 outlay I would have snapped their hand off but the numbers don’t stack up.

    BTW try this url and see what you get:


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