Residents’ fears at college’s plan bee

A beehive
A beehive
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plans by Whitby Community College to introduce a beehive to its site are causing discontent among some residents in the surrounding area.

The college intends to keep honey bees from next month in order to benefit ‘the wider education’ of their students.

Mark Jackson, who lives in Stakesby Vale, adjacent to the college site, is angry at the prospect of the introduction of a beehive so close to his family home.

He said: “I think that it is irresponsible of the college to put a beehive so near a residential area.

“Everyone that I have spoken to on our street was shocked by the letter that we have all received informing us of the college’s intentions.

“There are a lot of local residents who are unhappy about the beehive.

“A number of the people who live adjacent to the college or in the surrounding area have young children.

“The college backs onto my garden and I have a three-year old son.

“Our next door neightbour is an 80-year-old man who spends most of the summer in his garden.

“He doesn’t want to be worrying about a swarm of bees coming over his fence.

“When I was at school we went on a trip to visit a beehive. We didn’t need one on site.

“It seems to me that the college are just doing this becasuse they can.”

Mr Jackson is disappointed that neighbours of the college were not been informed of the college’s plans sooner.

A letter, which notifies ‘college neighbours’ that the college ‘intends to keep honey bees on the premises after the Easter holiday’, has only recently been circulated.

Mr Jackson said:“I don’t think the college have given people who live in the area a second thought.

“According to the letter they have sent us, they have received approval for what they want to do and there is probably nothing we can do about it.

“I have spoken to Mark Parkin who is involved in organising the beehive at the college. I told him I was disappointed the college’s neighbours had only been notified about the plans for the bees now.

“If we had been involved earlier in the planning process and had been able to discuss what was happening then maybe some of our fears could have been alleviated.

“Mr Parkin kept stressing the bees would pose no risk and said the college cannot foresee them being a danger, but I don’t think they can guarantee that.

“My wife and I have to take into consideration how quickly we can get our three-year-old son into the house if he is playing in our back garden and a swarm of bees arrive.

“Any risk posed to local people is needless and irresponsible.”

The letter sent to local residents details that ‘this project is being thoroughly planned and the college has received professional advice to ensure that the commencement of the project is implemented and operated safely.

“The surrounding areas will be screened where necessary and a risk assessment provided by the British Bee-Keeping Association has been adopted.’

It also states: ‘if you have any concerns please do not hesitate to contact Mark Parkin or Peter Sherpherdson at the college’.

Whitby Community College was unavailable to comment at the time of going to press.