Tuesday, 20 February 2018

This is what RBWM's "Commitment to the Park" & a "Green School" looks like...


This is what RBWM's "Commitment to the Park" & a "Green School" looks like... 36 hours after a councillor assured residents of their "commitment to the park" they ordered this. 





Monday, 6 March 2017

23 TREES IN BRAYWICK PARK TO BE CHOPPED DOWN TO ALLOW BRAYWICK COURT SCHOOL'S "GREEN SCHOOL" CONSTRUCTION WORK

The Braywick Court School website says: "We are a Green School and take our learning outside as often as possible."

TOO BAD THAT TO BUILD A "GREEN SCHOOL" YOU NEED TO FELL 23 TREES TO ENABLE ACCESS TO THE SITE AND FOR ITS CONSTRUCTION. 

(Not to mention that 13 of these trees are also in the Local Wildlife Site).






Details of the proposed construction compound and access for construction traffic to the Braywick Court School site have now been submitted to the Council (CLICK HERE to view - or head to the RBWM planning portal online and search for the Hibbert Road adress). In addition, details of measures to 'protect' the trees adjacent to the site during construction have also been submitted. 

The access to the school from the car park involves the removal of 2 yew trees, 2 holly trees, 2 field maples and the large bay tree in the Nature Centre garden, leaving only 2 yew trees which are to be heavily 'crown lifted' by 4.5m. 

In addition, many of the trees surrounding the site will have their lower branches cut off to raise the canopy (so that HGVs & construction vehicles can drive underneath)  and others will be heavily pruned back away from the school boundary, including the 4 old yew trees to the north of the school. This will result in the building appearing even more overbearing when viewed from the park & the dell, and the local wildlife site below.

IN TOTAL 23 TREES ARE TO BE REMOVED FOR BRAYWICK COURT SCHOOL'S DEVELOPMENT AND 13 OF THOSE TREES ARE IN THE LOCAL WILDLIFE SITE.


If you object these trees being chopped down please  CLICK HERE to email all the relevant RBWM staff and Bray Ward councillors. Ask them to commit to protecting these trees, and also ask who will pay for the re-instatement of the Nature Centre Garden.


The Council's own Planning report from July 2016, (which is what councillors read before voting to the approve planning application), does not mention that ANY trees were going to be removed, and the only tree specifically mentioned in the document they said was to be retained 

"6.23 The Box tree [T63] is to be retained." 


However, we now see, according to the Arboricultural Method Statement of Feb 2017 that this tree, the only one mentioned in the report is actually to be chopped down! Along with 22 others. 




So to re-iterate here in simple terms: 
  • The RBWM planning report for the Braywick Court School planning application, which is what the councillors rely on for information about the plans (as do the public), before voting on the application DID NOT MENTION THAT ANY TREES WOULD NEED TO BE CUT DOWN.

  • IT NOW TRANSPIRES THAT AT LEAST 23 TREES WILL BE CUT DOWN. Also the only tree specifically mentioned in that RBWM planning report is among those to be chopped down, even tough the report says it would be retained!!


Sound familiar? Remember BPET & Braywick Court School's statements to parents & residents that merely "The existing buildings will be refurbished"?


Why does this 'Green School' require so much destruction, the chopping down of so many trees & ruining this area of such a beautiful park?



Why were they not honest from the outset?


We hope our councillors will stand up to BPET & do something to protect the park and all these trees. Please email them using the 'Act Now' button above.


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ALSO, THE 'TREE PROTECTION PLANS' WHICH BRAYWICK COURT SCHOOL HAS SUBMITTED ARE WRONG.

They do not show the trees to be removed in the Nature Centre Garden nor do they show all the proposed lateral pruning and crown lifting and thus are misleading and misrepresent what is being planned. 


THE DIAGRAMS IN THE SCHOOL'S PLANS ARE INCORRECT AND DO NOT SHOW CORRECTLY HOW MANY, AND WHICH TREES THEY WANT TO REMOVE!


(All you have to do is compare the list of trees to be removed in the appendix with the corresponding trees on the diagram and you can see that it is (accidentally on purpose?) incorrect and makes it look like most of them will be unaffected - trees to be removed should be illustrated with dotted edges but are not.)


So, to make things clearer, here are a couple of corrected images - red circles indicate trees (or groups of several trees) to be chopped down.




Map showing trees to be removed for the construction of Braywick Court School. This image shows the trees in the Nature Centure Garden to be chopped down, in red. The ones in yellow are to be heavily 'crown lifted' to 4.5m (which means any branches up to that height are removed).



-- Another quote from the RBWM Development Control Panel report we now know to be incorrect and misleading:

6.5 Views of the new building would be limited from outside due to the substantial tree cover along the north and east boundaries,from the west due to the existing nature centre building and further trees and vegetation and from the south due to the building’s set back and 2m high brick wall adjacent to Hibbert Road.

Looking at the details of trees to be felled you will see that 5 more tree groups on the Eastern boundary, within the local wildlife site in Braywick Park are to be removed. These are all evergreens that form the bulk of any screening from the road the the listed cottages there. IN TOTAL 10 TREES ARE BEING FELLED ON THIS EASTERN BOUNDARY. You can see them in red in the image above. (Though there are only 6 rings there, some of them represent groups of trees rather than single trees). 

If you know the area then you will understand how important they are for screening of the site and their removal will make this development stand out and be even more visible.

-- And again, another misleading statement from the Council's report before planning permission was approved:

6.39 The closest residential property to the new school is positioned approximately 20m to the east.  Given this separation distance, the orientation of the buildings and the existing tree screening to be retained, together with any additional tree planting considered necessary, it is not considered that the proposal would harm the living conditions of the occupiers of this property in terms of loss of privacy, loss of light or from the development appearing overbearing.

NOT TRUE! THE EXISTING TREE SCREENING IS NOT TO BE RETAINED. 9 OF THE TREES PROVIDING THAT SCREENING ARE TO BE REMOVED AS PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT!! 

(The small box tree (T79) doesn't really provide screening, but the other 9 do for sure.)



IF THESE 23 TREES ARE ALLOWED TO BE CHOPPED DOWN, ALONG WITH THE EXTREME CROWN LIFTING OF 13 OTHER TREES AND THE CUTTING BACK OF 5 OTHERS THE EFFECT ON THE PARK & THE SURROUNDING AREA WILL BE DEVASTATING. THE BUILDING WILL APPEAR EVEN MORE OVERBEARING ON THE PARK AND THE DELL & LOCAL WILDLIFE SITE BELOW. 

A towering blot on the landscape overwhelming the park, not a sympathetic 'green' building tucked away in the corner.

Here's some photos of some of the trees that will be removed from the front of the Nature Centre garden. (These particular ones are to be chopped down purely so that they can build an access road through it for all the HGVs and construction vehicles because there is no other way to get through to the small site.)












Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Braywick Park Car Park at Hibbert Road could be CLOSED to the Public for well over a Year

Braywick Court School's development within Braywick Park looks like it now may require the use of the whole car park at Hibbert Road for a construction compound for the duration of build phase, which is expected to last well in excess of 12 months.

Nowhere in the Braywick Court School planning application did Bellevue Place Education Trust address construction matters, in particular, where their construction compound would be located and the duration of the build.  As they doggedly pursued building the school on a very small site, they clearly needed land for the contractor's office and building materials.  

Whilst construction impacts are temporary and therefore not a planning matter, the issue of the possible use of the Hibbert Road car park for a construction compound was flagged up in at least one of the objections to the planning application.  

One resident has been asking the Council for over seven months whether part or all of the car park would be handed over to BPET during the construction of the school.  Having never received a response, a FOI request was made and the Council responded on the 18 November as follows:


"Whilst the borough offered some of the car park as a construction storage area the contractor has said he would require a lot more space, possibly all.  This matter is still under discussion therefore, no decision on available space and time duration has been taken."

According to the head teacher, the build will take well in excess of 12 months.


It is considered totally unacceptable for the public to lose the use of most or all of the car park for such a long period of time.  

BPET must have just presumed the council simply would hand over the car park on licence to the Trust.

This once again shows the arrogance of BPET and the Department of Education who have little or no regard or respect for the local area and the users of Braywick Park and the Braywick Nature Centre.

The Council has not been upfront about the potential impacts of the school on Braywick Park.


Please let the Council know your views on the potential loss of the car park for the duration of the construction process. 

Write to Cllr. Samantha Rayner who is lead member for Communities and Culture (which includes parks and open spaces) her email is:

cllr.s.rayner@rbwm.gov.uk



Braywick Court School's contractor has said they may need this whole car park as a construction storage area.


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

RBWM Planning officer's Report contained FALSE STATEMENTS, significant Omissions & was MISLEADING

The council has just advertised the disposal of a section of land adjacent to the Braywick Nature Centre in Braywick Park - as part of the development we campaigned against. [See below for where to write to object to this!]

One of our many points of objection to the planning application was that the school would be taking over public open space in the park.

The RBWM Planning Officer's report to the Development Control Panel, (to help councillors understand the application & advise on whether to approve or reject it) in response to our concern said, incorrectly "There is No Loss". 

Completely UNTRUE. 

RBWM Council's committee report said there would be no loss of open space for the Braywick Court School development, and now they are advertising that there WILL be loss open space.

We raised the point that open space would be lost as one of our objections, but the Council Planning Officer's report said there would be none. Only 3 months later they are handing over this public land.

People should rightly object to this loss of open space.

Objections to the intended disposal must be made in writing and submitted to Emma-Jane Brewerton, Lawyer, Select Business Services: Legal Solutions, Wokingham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Shute End, Wokingham, Berks, RG40 1BN by no later than 3 November 2016

Excerpt of the Planning Officer's Report to the Development Control Panel

Notice of Disposal in this week's Maidenhead Advertiser

The area in red is the section of land, adjacent to the Nature Centre to be 'disposed of' which will become part of the footprint of Braywick Court School.


Was the planning report deliberately misleading and deceptive?




Thursday, 30 June 2016

Is using a site only 20% the size of a normal Primary School for Braywick Court a good idea?



A site 20% the size of other Primary Schools in the area. 

Completely inadequate playground Space. 

How long until the School applies to use more of the Park when they realise how cramped it is? 

What happens when the parents of 210 pupils no longer use the Car Park 500m away and instead take over the Nature Centre Car Park, and access via the narrow Hibbert Road? 

What happens to the Park - and the people who like to use it but no longer have access?

Did the parents that were persuaded to sign up their kids to Braywick Court School know it would mean possibly 3 years at Ellington/Riverside instead?

Does RBWM care?






Friday, 10 June 2016

WHAT'S WRONG WITH BRAYWICK COURT SCHOOL'S PLANNING APPLICATION & WHY HAVE THEY IGNORED ALTERNATIVE SITES?

Please CLICK HERE to send an email with your objections to the planning application.

Feel free to use information from this website as a guide for key points but please write in your own words & mention the issues that you feel most strongly about & those that affect you personally. Your letter doesn't have to be long either, even just a few sentences.

There are some very detailed letters of objection already submitted which can be viewed under any 'community comments' on the RBWM website but here are some bullet points that may be of use:

The main point is that the proposed site is far too small to accommodate the proposed new building without having significant adverse effects on the local area.

1. The site has no on site car parking and no proper road access. Thus the proposed development would be likely to cause traffic problems by virtue of increased traffic generation, access and road safety problems. It is also likely to adversely affect users of Braywick Park as the only vehicular access to the school site is through the park itself. (For example construction traffic & ongoing services access such as waste disposal). The mere fact that this site was suitable for a Victorian village primary school to which most pupils would have walked, does not mean that it is suitable for a 21st Century primary school, more than double the capacity, where most pupils are delivered by car

2. The proposed development would result in significant loss of trees in Braywick Park, despite the fact that the application states no trees to be removed.

3. The proposed development would damage the natural environment in that it would have an adverse effect on the adjacent Local Wildlife Site in Braywick Park. In this respect the scheme would involve the loss of loss of at least 6 trees to the east of the site boundary and three near the proposed entrance to the school, although for some reason this is not referred to in the application (other than in the Development Tree Survey).

4. The proposed development is not in keeping with the scale or character of the local area.

5. The proposed development would have negative impact on the amenity of existing residential properties, through noise, overlooking, and loss of privacy.

6. The proposed development would have an adverse impact on the setting of the terrace of five cottages opposite the school building, which are Grade 2 Listed Buildings.

7. Lastly (and by no means the least important), the proposal constitutes inappropriate development within the Green Belt and would have an adverse effect on its openness. Although the applicant claims that this development is not inappropriate as it is simply replacing an existing building in the same use. The proposed building is over 300% larger in terms of overall floorspace - 1211m2 compared to 350m2) and the footprint is almost 2.5 times greater (784m2 compared to 319m2). The front fa├žade of the two storey part of the building would be much closer to the road than the existing building, particularly in the south eastern corner of the site and the building would be contiguous with the eastern boundary. The bulk, height and siting of the proposed development would have a significant adverse impact on the openness of the Green Belt.

All the above points are in direct conflict with approved planning policies that are set out in both the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 and with the relevant saved policies in the RBWM Local Plan. We have deliberately not set them all here in order to keep this post as short and succinct as possible.

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THE ALTERNATIVE SITE

There is however another larger site, referred to in the applicant’s Planning Statement, and which is understood to be available, but which appears to have been dismissed from consideration by the applicant without any apparent reason. The site in question, also within the Braywick Park sports complex is owned by RBWM, as indeed is the current application site. It was identified in the Oldfield School site assessment study as a potentially suitable site, but did not proceed at that time as it was a little remote from that school’s main catchment.

The Council has previously offered this site to the BPET/The School. Ann Pfeiffer, head of Childrens' Services has stated: "Should the Trust want to pursue this option further then there is no established reason why it cannot do so".

At the present time it remains undeveloped and with a site area of 0.385ha, is more than
twice as large as the Hibbert Road site. Locating the proposed new Braywick Court School building here would overcome virtually all the problems and harmful effects that are inherent in the present proposal. Yes, it is still within the Green Belt but the harm to the Green Belt by reason of inappropriateness and other harm would be substantially less than is the case with the Hibbert Road site.

In summary, the main advantages of locating the new school on the ALTERNATIVE SITE rather than on the present application site are:

- There would be far fewer of the harmful effects to the Green Belt that are inherent in the present proposal;

- The site is larger and thus would permit a building with far better facilities including outside play areas and parking and servicing arrangements than the present proposal can achieve;

- The site would be served from a better road access point – the access for drop off and pick up of children is exactly the same as has been proposed in this application – but the contrived ‘park and stride’ scheme would not be necessary;

- The site is considerably closer to, and indeed within reasonable walking distance of the projected areas of new residential development both within and to the south of the town centre, from where the school’s future pupils are most likely to be drawn.

The end product would be a far more satisfactory development all round both for the school, parents transporting children, residents and park users.

Please CLICK HERE to send an email with your objections to the planning application.

(You can view all the official documents relating to the plans if you click here.)




Bray Parish Council RECOMMENDS REFUSAL of latest plans.

Bray Parish Council have recommended that the latest Braywick Court School plans be refused, a step in the right direction! 
Reasons cited in their comments are "GB1 Impact/intensification on the Green Belt & GB2 Overdevelopment of the plot, highway & traffic issues as inadequate parking/access". 
Most councillors seemed to share our concerns & the vote was 7-3 in favour of refusal. Cllr Dudley left the room and did not vote, and Cllr Burbage was mysteriously absent during discussions/vote, but arrived immediately afterwards according to the Maidenhead Advertiser. He still hasn't responded to our messages on twitter asking if he would vote.
Thank you to the councillors who attended & took the time to properly look at the plans & understand all the issues at play. 
As was mentioned at the meeting, this is not about the school itself - it is about *these* plans, on *this* specific site. There are 2 or 3 alternative, larger, much more suitable sites incredibly close by, also in the Braywick area that need to be seriously considered & so far have not. 
More details to follow.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

BRAYWICK COURT SCHOOL PLANNING APPLICATION INCLUDES PROPOSAL FOR SINGLE/DOUBLE YELLOW LINES ON HIBBERT ROAD

BRAYWICK COURT SCHOOL PLANNING APPLICATION INCLUDES PROPOSAL FOR SINGLE/DOUBLE YELLOW LINES ON HIBBERT ROAD Hidden away in the pages of the new planning application are proposals to introduce parking restrictions (i.e. single or even double yellow lines) along Hibbert Road, from The Causeway all the way until the junction with A308/Braywick Road. None of this was mentioned in the School's 'Public Exhibition' in January, or is mentioned in any of the promotional material about the application. It has effectively been hidden. The School's Transport Assessment in para 4.10 (see photos attached) says this is 'an additional safeguard against parent/carer parking' that 'is a suggestion made by residents'. We are interested to see (and have requested) any documents where residents would suggest this - as many of us from the area need to park our cars on Hibbert Road (and always have done, long before Braywick Court School ever existed.) If Braywick Court School's Travel Plan & 'Home School Agreement' is as 'robust' as claimed, then all parents/carers will use the 'Park & Stride' car park by Braywick Sports Ground. That is the key promise which the Travel Plan hinges on, and the School's only, (and unenforceable) answer to residents' concerns about all the extra traffic, access & parking problems a school of this size, on this site will create. Concerns which were shared by the Highway Development Control when they recommended the previous application be refused permission, which led to its withdrawal. So which one is it? Will all parents access the school & park where the school promises they will, forever, or will they want to to park on Hibbert Road? Sounds like the School admitting its travel plan is completely unenforceable. Which is what we've always said. Will there be similar restrictions in the Nature Reserve Car Park? No, there can't be, and there is no way of legally preventing parents from dropping off their children there. So why restrictions on Hibbert Road - which only really affect residents? Is this a cheap attempt at 'payback' against residents that have complained about the previous planning application? Did they expect anyone to even notice? Why wasn't this part of the proposal made clear at the exhibition? What else is hidden in the pages of the new application? Maybe this is just a set-up gambit so that RBWM can remove the idea of these particular restrictions as a 'concessionary' condition when the application goes to panel so they can be seen to have supposedly listened to residents' concerns?




Monday, 1 February 2016

Initial Thoughts & Questions on the new Proposals


We're still having a good look at the new proposals & will post more thoughts officially here once we've had a chance to discuss fully as a group.

First impressions are that it looks like all the same HUGE issues relating to the Travel Plan, Traffic, Access & Parking remain. [Remember the Highway Development Control recommended the original plans be refused based on its size & those same issues - pupil numbers and the site's location are unchanged in these plans so the situation is the same].

We ARE relieved to see plans to use the Nature Centre & build directly on the Park itself have been shelved (although issues of overdevelopment on the site and impact on the Green Belt in various ways remain), so if the Council, their friends at Bellevue Place Education Trust & the School manage to keep bulldozing this scheme forward at least we managed to prevent them doing that. For now at least...

Just a few common-sense questions that pop up:

What happens in the future when the 'travel plan' (which seems to be pivotal in the plans, despite the key elements remaining unchanged from the first planning application) is forgotten & not enforced, but the damage is already done & the buildings built, and parents dropping off and parking in the Hibbert Road Car park, or on Hibbert Road (and the pavement as they have sometimes before) itself?

How do the developers propose to gain access to the site during all the demolition and construction work, if it goes ahead? How much will this damage & disrupt the formal gardens at Braywick Park & the surrounding area, how will all the heavy machinery access the site?

What was the other permanent site that was investigated and why is that not being considered? Or being made public? (When school representatives were asked this at the exhibition some members of the public were told, and others were not. Is the School and BPET telling prospective parents one thing, and residents another? The same goes for the Councillors taking an interest in the issue. Are we being deliberately misled?)

How many of the parents that signed up their kids to the School in the beginning were told that the original School buildings were "out of date, do not meet modern teaching standard requirements and are inefficient in design and had to be replaced" (rather than simply "will be refurbished" as the official school promotion documents said? Again - deliberately misleading statements. Why should we trust them to stick to travel plan promises in the future, for example?).

If the current buildings are "out of date, do not meet modern teaching standard requirements and are inefficient in design & have to be replaced" then why was the site selected for the school in the first place? Why was this hidden from parents and residents at the start?

What happens in the future when the obviously inadequate playground size (with inadequate punctuation!) leads to an application to expand out and 'lease' more land from the Park? Did they already ask for this before at the very beginning?

Has the council leased additional Public Open Space land to the School/Trust over and above the land leased in July 2014? (The plans show a red line extending out into the Public Open Space by the Nature Centre.)

Is a modern, glass fronted, 2 storey, yellow brick, flat-roofed building in keeping with the local setting? (The area is dominated by red brick buildings, some of which date back to the 1700s & are Grade II listed).

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Planning Application Withdrawn

The planning application has been withdrawn by Braywick Court School/BPET.

Hopefully the School & Bellevue Place Education Trust, their backers have found an alternative site, or a 'split site' solution that won't involve building on the formal Gardens at Braywick Park, taking over the Nature Centre, the Green Belt issues, the overdevelopment on the existing site, the highways, traffic & parking problems & doesn't have such a big, negative impact on Braywick Park & the surrounding area. 

We're not against a smaller school, or part of a split site school on the Winbury site so will be interested to see what comes next.

More news when we have it.