Thursday, 10 July 2014

More Parking Concerns

Where will the teachers and other staff park their cars? When the school reaches full size there will be 7 class teachers, along with their teaching assistants plus office staff and catering staff. 

How many cars will this be? We have been told by Simon Ward from Bellevue Educational Trust that there would be 'around 30' members of staff.

Are the teachers going to walk 1/3 mile from the overflow car park by the Rifle Club/Maidenhead Target Shooting Club with all the materials they carry to and from school EVERY DAY

The council have already introduced parking restrictions and made 8 spaces 'permit holder only' - before the school has even opened, and when it does in the first year there will only be 28 pupils. 

Is the Borough allowed to simply give this public space to the private use of a free school? Where will everyone else park?

What about deliveries to the school? There will be regular deliveries of supplies for the kitchen as well as all the other materials of books, equipment and supplies. Where will the lorries park & access the site? The public car park?

Where will the waste collection vehicles park to collect the waste? In the road on the dangerous blind bend on Hibbert Road?

When plans were drawn for the new Oldfield School in Bray Road, adequate parking space for all of these requirements was an essential component of the planning application

Why should it be acceptable for the plans for Braywick Court School to go ahead without adequate parking provision or, indeed, with the parking provision for this to be taken away from a public amenity car park, which was provided for the use of local residents, and users of Braywick Park?

When planning permission was granted for the new Oldfield School on Bray Road it was only after long deliberation and much scrutiny of the potential traffic and parking issues. 

The planned Braywick Court School will eventually cater for 210 children and their families.  When it was Winbury School this number was at most 90. 

RBWM Council & Bellevue Place Educational trust (who will run the new School) want to take over the existing Nature Centre building in Braywick Park, and build a new building on the park itself - plus a large 2 storey development on the existing school site.

Most of the new school development is on land designated as public open space

Will there be serious consideration of the potential parking and traffic problems, not just on a day-to-day basis but for big school events, sports days, parents' evenings etc?

Even if 7 or 8 parking bays end up reserved for staff, what's to stop other staff members occupying public parking bays all day long? Or parking on Hibbert Road all day long to avoid getting a ticket instead?

Will RBWM have to introduce parking restrictions on Hibbert Road to deal with that? What about residents that need to park outside their houses on Hibbert Road?

CLICK HERE to find out a few simple things you can do to help!

Why the 'Walking Bus' plan will not work. Is it just a PR smokescreen to placate locals' concerns over parking & traffic?

The Headteacher of the school has stated that parents will not be using the car park beside the school. This may be her intention, but she cannot make this commitment on behalf of the parents. She cannot enforce this. Some parents will ignore this and as the school grows in size this will inevitably lead to parking problems.  

As we all know, the car park was not adequate when Winbury was in operation with far fewer children. Hibbert Road and Gas Lane are completely unsuitable for roadside parking for the parents. 

The intended "walking bus" or "park & stride scheme" from the Rifle Club/Maidenhead Target Shooting Club car park depends on a lot of parental co-operation and some organisation provided by the school. In bad weather some parents will not be happy for their children to walk from the Rifle Club car park and will want to drop them at the car park near the school. 

This scheme is something that the Head is intending but she cannot force the parents to comply. Even if the scheme appears to work well at the beginning when the school is still very small, it will be much more difficult to enforce once the school grows to full size.

Is this 'walking bus' scheme just a PR smokescreen to placate locals' concerns over the parking & traffic problems, so that they can push through planning permission?

It should also be noted that the road leading to the Rifle Club Car Park is only single track, with no space for traffic passing in both directions. Surely this will end up gridlock with the parents of 210 pupils trying to access it at drop off & pick up times? Have the council considered this? Will they have to build a wider new road, taking up space on the Braywick Sports Fields? (There's a rugby pitch right where they would have to do that so good luck..).

The car park adjacent to the Nature Centre is a public car park and should be available for use by other local residents who walk in the park or visit the Nature Centre. If the school encroaches on this car park it will be reducing the ability of local residents to use a local public amenity, and if they are forced to park on Hibbert Road this would be unsafe.
When construction of the enlarged school begins, presumably all the construction traffic for the work will have to use the public car park. This again is extremely disruptive. It will cause noise and disturbance to neighbouring residents and will also take up space in the public car park.

Remember, when the site was Winbury School there were only at most 90 pupils - Braywick Court School has been 'rubber stamped' to eventually have 210. That's almost 2 and a half times as many children. They intend to take over the existing Nature Centre building, build a large 2 storey development on the site, not in keeping with current architecture, on PUBLIC OPEN SPACE AND build a big brand new building RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF BRAYWICK PARK.

Not cool.

CLICK HERE to find out a few simple things you can do to help!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Subject to planning permission anyone? Or is this already a done deal?

Another promo article in the Maidenhead Advertiser recently:

"Braywick Court School has announced it will open with double the amount of space than it had originally thought."

"The second phase, which sees the school incorporating Braywick Nature Centre, will begin after Christmas."

Oh, so its already decided then???

Where's the 'SUBJECT TO PLANNING PERMISSION' in all this?

They need double the amount of space because the Borough gave permission for the School to operate at double the capacity the site ever did when it was Winbury School.

Oh and by the way... for that to happen they want to build a new building right in the middle of Braywick Park. (But nobody mentions that in the article.)

Not cool.

Click image to enlarge

CLICK HERE to find out a few simple things you can do to help!

"If they can get away with it, there will be more loss of greenbelt land, which is our heritage, and it is only the public which will oppose this loss"

Well put by Mr. ME Lewington in a letter to the Maidenhead Advertiser this week.

"If they can get away with it, there will be more loss of greenbelt land, which is our heritage, and it is only the public which will oppose this loss."

Original planned site for the new Nature Centre was smaller & in different position. Negotiation trick?

In the original rough plans for the proposed new Nature Centre it was to the left of the car park, and smaller - not right in the middle of the park as now proposed.

Is this what they are actually aiming for but are asking for something more outrageous as a negotiating technique to get the original plan accepted as a 'concession'?

Building out on this beautiful park to allow the free school to operate at twice the former school's numbers just isn't cool - wherever they decide to TRY TO put the new building.

Is this because the council is desperate for school places because of their own previous planning decisions and allowing overdevelopment in the area?

First rough plans showing area 'H' as location of proposed new building (click to enlarge):

'Expert' photoshop annotation of latest plans for new building, area to left in yellow was original proposed position (click to enlarge):

Plans for new Nature Centre to be built on Braywick Park

The new Braywick Court School will be on the site formerly occupied by Winbury School.

When it was operated as Winbury School there were 86 pupils.
Braywick Court School aim to have 210 (by 2020). RBWM Council have approved this already. Without public consultation.

In order to accommodate this (almost 2.5 times the original size) expansion the School/Council want to take over the existing Nature Centre buildings, and build a new one, right in the middle of Braywick Park

They also want to build a large 2 storey extension/development on the existing Winbury site - not in keeping with the existing architecture, most of which is on PUBLIC OPEN SPACE.

There will be no additional parking (at least they're not trying to build a bigger car park too!), despite the School now being for 210 pupils compared to 86 previously. 

Not cool.

See the rest of the plans here:

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The NUT Opposes Free Schools

Taken from this article:

What Are Free Schools?
The first free schools were opened in 2011. Free Schools are independent schools with state funding. Any "suitable sponsor" can apply to the Secretary of State for Education for approval to open a free school including private businesses, academy chains, parents, teachers, other schools, universities and faith groups. Private schools can also apply to convert to free school status to access state funding. Free schools do not need local authority support to open and, despite the shortage of primary places in many parts of the country, many secondary free schools have been approved to open in areas with surplus places.
Free Schools Can:
  • set their own pay and conditions for staff;
  • employ teachers without qualified teacher status;
  • determine their own admissions arrangements;
  • decide upon their own curriculum;
  • set the length of terms and school days; and
  • operate independently of the local authority and outside the local family of schools.
The NUT & Free Schools
The NUT opposes free schools. We believe it is wrong that state funding should be given to small groups of individuals to run schools that are unaccountable to their local communities. We believe that free schools undermine:
  • teachers' professional status and their pay and conditions;
  • local authorities’ ability to plan and manage school places;
  • common admissions’ arrangements and fuel social segregation;
  • fair funding for schools – free schools are getting a disproportionate share of capital and revenue funding for schools at a time when education budgets are being cut; and
  • democratic local accountability of schools to their communities
Free Schools – Free For All?
The NUT's case against Free Schools and a set of policy recommendations is set out in the following document:
National Audit Office report on free schools
In December 2013 the National Audit Office published a damning report into the free school programme. You can read the NUT’s summary of the findings here.
FAQs on Free Schools
This is a collection of frequently asked questions on free schools.
Free Schools Approved to Open in 2014 or Beyond
The DfE has announced the list of 102 new free schools approved to open in 2014 and beyond.Click here to see if a free school is planning to open in your area. The document also includes a list of those previously approved to open from 2013 onwards.
Click here for the NUT’s press release accompanying the announcement.
Research Shows Primary School Place Shortages Worsen 
NUT research shows primary school place shortages worsen while resources being wasted on free schools are adding to surplus secondary places – read the full press release
The impact of Free Schools on Neighbouring Schools
NUT research shows that many free schools will have a negative impact on existing local schools. Read more here.

None of the first year's intake actually is 'Eligible for Pupil Premium' as RBWM had suggested it would be aiming for, and was a selling point for the School

One of the selling points for the School in the early stages was the admissions policy -  encouraging admission of children eligible for the 'Pupil Premium', children in care, or 'those with exceptional medical or social needs.'

It turns out that none of the first year's intake falls under this category. (According to a conversation with the Headmistress at the 'Public Consultation' on 8 July.)

Obviously this may change as more children are admitted over the years, and it doesn't directly relate to the planning stuff - but it does show how the Council/School have said one thing & done another...

Monday, 7 July 2014

RBWM promoting the School & Nature Centre in the Press, but not mentioning putting a big new building in the middle of Braywick Park.

Spinning the proposed development based on the financial side - but at what environmental cost?

No mention of:

-The fact that the Nature Centre is being kicked out of its existing location into what is a smaller building

-It will involve a large development & building right in the middle of a beautiful park

-This building on the park is only necessary because they decided the new School should accept 2.5 times the number of pupils (210 over original 86) the previous one (Winbury) had - and they want to take over the existing Nature Centre building - which is very successful and a wonderful local resource as is.

-Completely inadequate parking arrangements & traffic problems created by this doubling of the number of pupils.

"A NATURE centre will be moved to a new home to make way for a free school. The Royal Borough cabinet has approved proposals to lease the former Winbury School site, in HIbbert Road, Maidenhead, the Braywick Nature Centre and adjoining pieces of land to the Bellevue Education Trust to set up a new free school – the Braywick Court School. The Royal Borough has spent £716,939 on buying, maintaining and providing security for the old school since they purchased it in October 2012 with the intention of the school being retained for educational use, but the funding for the new school will come entirely from the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Speaking at the meeting on Thursday last week (27/3), cllr Simon Dudley, cabinet member for finance, said: “From a local taxpayer’s perspective, RBWM has put £700,000 into this, but I think the EFA will put £1.1m into it. “We are getting a new, one-form entry primary school for £700,000 when we are building another, two-form primary school [Oldfield Primary’s relocation to Bray Road] nearby for £8.4m. That is tremendous value for money for our residents.” The Royal Borough has also secured a grant of up to £400,000 from the EFA to build a replacement nature centre elsewhere in Braywick Park. The trust will need to increase the number and size of classrooms, have access to a hall, staff parking and pupil drop off areas and it has been deemed easier to make this happen by building a smaller extension incorporating the nature centre rather than a larger extension to the former Winbury site. The school will expand into the nature centre once a replacement centre has been constructed. Cllr Michael John Saunders, cabinet member for property and planning, said: “The nature centre is a bit tired, but still perfectly workable, but with this plan, we get a brand new, shiny centre paid for by the EFA. This is an extraordinarily good piece of news for local residents.” The Trust hopes to open the Braywick Court School in September. The site will be leased for 125-years at a peppercorn rate."

Braywick Court School Lease Agreement with RBWM$FILE/meetings_140327_cab_braywick_lease_full.pdf

This is the summary below - but link to full document above. 

Drawings show the initial intended location for the Nature Centre, different from what has now been proposed. (Both involve building out onto Braywick Park to allow the School to operate at 2.5 times the capacity it originally was as Winbury - as they plan to take over the existing Nature Centre & put them into a smaller building, actually built on the Park itself!)

The council are promoting the school on the basis it is paid for by central DFE funds so costs the local council very little compared to, say, the Oldfield School Expansion. (Which they ended up in in what could be a similar situation here, RBWM giving permission for the school to expand, and accepting double-sized year groups etc, before securing planning permission for the new site - putting pressure on themselves to grant themselves planning permission despite local's concerns.)

And why the desperate need for more school places? Allowing overdevelopment in the area?

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Braywick Court School Lease
Responsible Officer(s)
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David Scott Head of Education Strategy and Commissioning
Mark Shephard Development and Property Manager
Contact officer, job title and phone number
Ann Pfeiffer Service Leader –Sufficiency and Access 01628 796364
Richard Harris Property Services 01628 796084
Member reporting
Cllr Phillip Bicknell
Lead Member for Children’s Services
Cllr MJ Saunders
Lead Member for Planning & Property Services (including Maidenhead)
For Consideration By
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Date to be Considered
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27 March 2014
Implementation Date if Not Called In
Affected Wards
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Free school, Braywick, lease
Report Summary
  1. The report recommends that an agreement to lease, two leases and a licence be granted to Bellevue Place Education Trust for a new primary school, to be called Braywick Court School.
  2. The leases cover two sites – the former Winbury School plus adjacent classroom and land, and the Braywick Nature Centre and surrounding areas. The licence will permit limited use of the Braywick Park car park for staff parking and pupil drop off.
  3. The Bellevue Place Education Trust will use the sites for a new Free school to be known as Braywick Court School.
  4. The Braywick Court School will open in September 2014 in the former Winbury school site. Once a new Nature Centre has been built elsewhere in the park - if planning permission is secured – the Free school will expand into the current Braywick Nature Centre space.
  5. The Braywick Nature Centre will be replaced by a new building – to be funded by the Education Funding Agency. The amount to be capped at £400k.
  6. If approved, the key financial implications for the Council are that the former Winbury School and the Braywick Nature Centre will be leased to Bellevue Place Education Trust for a term of 125 years at a peppercorn rent, in accordance with DfE expectations, and a licence fee will be paid for the use of
    Braywick Park car park.

7. This report to cabinet is considered necessary for the following reasons:
a. The recommendations include disposals of council property for 125 year term which restrict the council’s future use of the site.
  1. Disposals are at under value,as the proposed leases are at peppercorn rent.
  2. Disposal of public open space and the fact that if this land is counted by the DfE as playing field either now or in the future, it could fall under the legislative protection afforded to playing fields which may restrict the council’s future use of this part of the site.
  3. The potential,although unlikely,shortfall of in capital funding for the new nature centre.
If recommendations are adopted, how will residents benefit?
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Benefits to residents and reasons why they will benefit
Dates by which residents can expect to notice a difference
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1. An additional school,adding to the diversity of provision and number of school places.
2. A brand new building for the BraywickNatureCentre
September 2014 September 2015