A ROCESTER schoolgirl has taken over her school assembly to make sure her classmates are aware about major changes that are set to happen on their doorsteps.
Twelve-year-old Kate Hardwick (pictured) was hoping to raise awareness about the Churnet Valley Masterplan which could see the countryside around her home changed forever.
The Ryecroft Middle School pupil, from Oakamoor, is particularly concerned about plans to re-lay the railway to Alton and transform an abandoned quarry near Whiston in to a £50 million leisure complex.
Her parents Claire and Dave are members of the Churnet Valley Conservation Group and share their daughter’s concerns about the area becoming a ‘tourism corridor’ with a further expansion of Alton Towers also in the pipeline.
Mrs Hardwick told the Advertiser Kate wanted to speak in the assembly to make sure her classmates were aware of what was going on.
She said: “We are very fortunate as we live in a beautiful area and Kate loves riding her horse and walking our dog in the countryside around us and when she became aware of the plans she became worried about what could happen.
“She is a big one for conservation and she got a number of her friends from school and between them decided they wanted to raise awareness of it.
“They approached their head teacher Mr Bardon to ask if they could do a presentation and asked the children if they were aware of what was going on and whether they were concerned about it.
“She was not in any way saying lets protest about it and it should not happen but just that we need to know what the plans are and we need to have our say.” The Churnet Valley masterplan has been produced by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and is aimed at realising the potential of the area after it was identified as a ‘major sustainable tourism corridor’.
Among the sites earmarked as key opportunity sites are Alton Towers, Consall Hall Gardens, Moneystone Quarry and Bolton Copperworks in Froghall.
Mrs Hardwick said she was proud that her daughter has taken it upon herself to raise awareness of the plans and said Kate and her friends are not stopping here.
She said: “We are very proud of her and Mr Bardon said they have never had a student take a whole assembly.
“What the girls are now wanting to do, and Mr Bardon is supportive, is to take the presentation on a bit of a roadshow and talk to other schools in the area affected to raise awareness so when September comes and there is a public consultation people are already aware of it and can have their say.” To find out more about the Churnet Valley masterplan visit http://www.staffsmo orlands.gov.uk/site/scripts/documents_i nfo.php?documentID=330&pageNumber =10.