ASK me why I am not surprised that the demand for places for both primary and secondary school exceeds the capacity available over the next few years.

I have been banging on for ages about councils and other agencies being unable to plan ahead because they cannot know who or how many people are going to roll up on the town’s doorstep.

I had been referring in the main to free movement of people from the EU, but it is clear that the current problem in Bolton is principally caused by the disproportionate number of international new arrivals under the Asylum Dispersal Scheme and the Gateway Refugee Programme.

Since Bolton Council has voluntarily signed up to both of these schemes, it could be said that it is the author of its own difficulties.

The solution in the medium term is obvious.

One thing I will agree with is that the Government which sponsors these schemes should fully fund the consequences and pay for the provision of the further school places that are required.

Cllr Paul Richardson

Ripon Close

Little Lever