Friday, 29 August 2014

Is this the Braywick Court School 'Travel Plan'?

Here's a video showing the 'walking bus' route Braywick Court School are proposing. 

And the inadequate single-track road all the cars will have to use. The road where cars can't pass in both directions. The one they will then have to widen, taking up more greenbelt land on Braywick Sports Ground. Will a normal road even fit past those 5-a-side football pitches? 

The School has already thought this through though right? RBWM? Put in a planning application yet? Mentioned that this is going to be necessary to anyone yet? The School opens in 2 weeks...

The video also shows the horrible path that RBWM have dug up through the lovely grassland area at the back of Braywick Park already, seems like it was rushed through without any environmental studies. Strange when the nearby site where they're building the new Oldfield School had to put building work on hold so ecologists could capture and re-home a large colony of rare, and protected species of slow-worms. Let's hope they didn't re-home them over here - then bulldoze them up... Did anyone check on that before they did this? It's an offence to kill or injure slow worms in the UK.

Why are we so desperate for these extra school places anyway when a new double-sized Oldfield School opens next year, and the old site will also then be used for education?

Do Bellevue Education Trust have their eyes on the old Oldfield School site as part of the long-game? 

What about the need for 'special educational needs' places locally as noted in this report here:

What if Bellevue Place Education Trust's 'plan B' is to create a situation where Braywick Court already has several classes of children, but can't get planning permission to expand (we certainly hope they won't get it if it involves building on the park, and building the big 2 storey development they have shown they want to) - which then puts pressure on RBWM to re-home the school on the old Oldfield School site - instead of the other options which would provide 'special educational needs' places.

'Special Educational Needs places' ARE needed in the area (See this RBWM Report)Especially since Holyport Manor School closed (and the site is now opening as a... $15m FREE SCHOOL... Founded by... COUNCILLOR DUDLEY, and who's head of Sport is... Councillor Bicknell's Son.). One of the sponsor groups for Braywick Court School (Place Group) were project management advisors to Holyport College too. All very friendly... 

Just a bit worrying that the very people who will eventually be looking over the planning application may be under political pressure from others on the council to support it (presumably those directly involved/linked to the School will rightly step down from the development panel - but that does't mean there won't be pressure on those in the council that ARE on it). If they upset those higher up will they have to step down from their cabinet roles in planning? 

 what do you think about this walking bus? Would you happily let your 5yr old kid walk this route every day? In winter? When its raining? What then? Ah yes, use the car park at Braywick Park, which barely coped when Winbury was open with 90 kids - let alone 210.

There won't be traffic chaos on Hibbert Road and in the car park when Braywick Court School is up to 210 will there?

Especially not now that there are 8 less spaces available there because RBWM have made them 'permit holder only' for School Staff.

Because the area where teachers used to park when it was Winbury School, now can't be used as they want to build a big new 2 storey development on it. To accommodate the extra 120 kids this school wants to eventually have - over the 90 when it worked perfectly well as Winbury School.

Councillors & RBWM have been promoting the School, taking over the existing Nature Centre Building so the School can use it - and then building a new Nature Centre Building in the middle of Braywick Park as a good thing in the Maidenhead Advertiser.

And who will the planning application eventually be made to? RBWM...


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

'Lease of Public Open Space' WRITE BEFORE 28 AUGUST IF OBJECTING

Hidden away on page 8 of the Maidenhead Advertiser is the notice that RBWM has agreed to lease the land adjoining the Braywick Nature Centre to Bellevue Place Education Trust. Land that is 'public open space'. See the red area on the map below.

There are no signs mentioning this around Braywick Park - so it's very easy to miss out information on what is being done. 

They have already agreed to grant the lease, so it will go ahead (unless enough people write with objections). Just as the new parking restrictions & introduction of 8 permit-holder-only parking bays IN THE PUBLIC CAR PARK went ahead without any consultation, and just as they have already gone ahead and dug up the new path through the beautiful wilderness area at the back of Braywick Park for the 'Walking Bus' (which the school cannot force parents to use).

If you object to this please write before 28 August to:

Emma-Jane Brewerton, 
Shared Legal Solutions at Wokingham Borough Council, 
Civic Offices, Shute End, 
RG40 1WH

Thoughts on the lease that may be helpful if writing to object:

No objection to the lease of the open space land to BPET were it to facilitate the opening of a school for up to 100 children which did not involve the loss of the Nature Centre.

OBJECT to the lease of this land to BPET to facilitate the opening of a 210 pupil school when there are so many unresolved issues including;

* significant increase in traffic generation and related road safety concerns;
* the loss of the Nature Centre;
* the building of a new nature centre in the middle of the park which would cause irrevocable harm to the formal gardens;
* the building of a large two storey school building which, according to plans seen to date, would be totally out of character with the surrounding area; and
* the loss of parking for users of Braywick Park.

The lease should not be granted until such time as a planning permission has been granted and the issues referred to above have been resolved in a satisfactory manner, if that indeed were possible.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Parking Restrictions introduced & 8 parking bays now 'permit holders only'

Despite the School only opening with one class of (at most 28) pupils, RBWM has already blocked off 8 parking spaces in the PUBLIC CAR PARK AND introduced a new 3 hour maximum parking restriction. 

Again, there's been no proper public consultation, they just went ahead and did it. The park is one of the main places to park for walkers wanting to use the 'Green Way' - they now have to make sure they're back within 3 hours or they'll get a ticket. 

If you can manage the whole Green Way loop (5-10km) on foot in under 3 hours please let us know!

And if you want to spend more than 3 hours enjoying Braywick Park & you drive here, well - that's just too bad...

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

Is this the extent of the 'public consultation'? A leaflet that hardly any local residents have seen?

This is the only document we could find purporting to be the 'public consultation' - at least one giving information about the School. More of a prospectus than a consultation - with biased, weighted questions, and no space to write any detailed responses either.

At least 10 of the households on Hibbert Road (the majority) were NOT sent this (We only got this one at the School's open day in September). Did they even send it out to any other local residents?

Residents on Gas Lane weren't even notified of the 'public consultation' on 8th July showing the proposed plans. Gas lane is just off Hibbert Road opposite the Park very close to where they want to build the new Nature Centre Building. In the middle of the park.

 How do any of these questions give the opportunity to properly gauge local residents' opinions anyway? 

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

The original 'Consultation Document' did not mention any building plans, only 'refurbishment'.

The FAQ page on the Prospectus/'Consultation Document' - meant to inform parents, and local residents of the School's intentions only mentions plans for refurbishment - nothing about the large expansion and building works now planned for the site and certainly nothing about appropriating the Nature Centre & building a new one right in the middle of Braywick Park. Funny that...

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

Do we need this many school places in this Catchment Area, with Oldfield School now expanded?

The new Braywick Court School is located in the same catchment area as Oldfield Primary School, which is scheduled to be replaced in 2015 by a much larger new school on the nearby site on Bray Road, with double the capacity of the old school to cater for 420 pupils. [CLICK HERE FOR RBWM MAP OF SCHOOL CATCHMENT AREAS]

The case for additional school capacity in the Oldfield and Bray Wards was part of the considerations of a Report dated 24 October 2013 by Angela Wellings, Head of Education and Childcare Services, on the future use of Chiltern Road site. In considering the future options for the Chiltern Road site this report notes, inter alia, that “there is a continued need for new primary school places in Maidenhead, but not in this specific area if the plan to relocate and expand Oldfield Primary School goes ahead.” (Which it has, despite it involving building on Green Belt land also in the flood plain.

"Future use of the Chiltern Road Site" - 24 Oct 2013

Does it make sense to approve plans for additional capacity COUNTER TO RECENT CABINET CONSIDERATIONS by using Green Belt Land and Public Open Space? 

Both expanded schools together would cater for 630 primary age pupils. Why does this catchment area need a further new expanded school? Are there plans to build new homes in this catchment area? Is the catchment area changing?

Wider choice for parents clearly make sense and the Winbury site happily supported up to 90 pupils as recently as 2009, but expansion on this site (to accommodate 210 pupils) at the expense of the local environment seems unnecessary and runs counter to recent Cabinet considerations.

If additional capacity as well as parental choice is the aim, and taking into account that the Chiltern Road site will continue to operate as a school when the New Oldfield school is in operation - why spoil a lovely public Park?

Zoomed in section of the RBWM Catchment Area Map - the brown area '19' is the Oldfield School Catchment area in which Braywick Court School is also.

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

Approval & Consultation Process? Most local residents NOT consulted.

On 27 March 2014 RBWM Cabinet considered a report about Braywick Court School lease. 

The minutes of that meeting approved the granting of a 125 year lease at peppercorn rent to Bellevue Place Educational Trust in respect of the former Winbury School premises, the Braywick Nature Centre plus public open space between the Nature Centre and the school buildings.

The Cabinet Report notes, inter alia, “....that the school need to increase the number and size of classrooms, have access to a hall, staff parking and pupil drop off areas; the agreed proposal is that instead of building a large extension to incorporate all the school’s needs, the Bellvue Place Educational Trust will build a smaller extension and take over the adjacent Council owned Nature Centre space. The school will apply for planning permission for any extension to the existing building and for the new Nature Centre. Only if planning permission is granted will the lease for the Braywick Nature Centre be entered into.The report also notes that “....the area of land between the two buildings is currently designated Public Open Space. This will become enclosed and will be for the sole use of the school.”

Elsewhere - at para 14.1 - the Report states that Braywick Court School has carried out its own consultations with the public. Prior to disposal of the open space RBWM has to advertise the notice of intention to dispose of the land in question in accordance with s123 Local Government Act 1972.” And at 14.2 that “Public consultation will take place on the planning application which will be submitted by the Bellvue Place Educational Trust."

However, most local (i.e. Hibbert Road) residents did not receive the school's consultation document. 1

Residents on Gas Lane were not sent any consultation documents & weren't even notified of the 'public consultation' on 8th July either

Gas lane is just off Hibbert Road opposite the Park very close to where they want to build the new Nature Centre Building. In the middle of the park.

The document reads as a prospectus for prospective parents, which appears to have been the thrust of the so called consultation - sent to libraries, media, religious groups etc. Not to local residents. 

We were told in one email exchangethat only 11 people responded to the whole consultation exercise, and the Head Teacher claims3 that nearly 60% were local residents and that 89% were in support. Does this constitute local consultation?

In short, most local residents believe that consultation was inadequate and that approval was rubber stamped.

RBWM has published notice on 14 August 2014 that it has agreed to a lease to Bellvue Place Educational Trust land adjoining Braywick Nature Centre; the land described in this notice is area C as referred to above. As at 19 August no planning application has been submitted and we are told that the application is expected to be submitted in the Autumn.

Work started in early August on the school buildings and the school is set to open in September with one reception class of 28 pupils.

How can the RBWM Cabinet make a decision, on 27 March, endorsing the lease before the the school has submitted any plans for approval?

1 10 Households that we know of have said they did not receive a consultation document.
Email dated 25 July from Simon Ward, Finance and Operations Director for BPET
Email dated 22 July from Mrs Gemma Donnelly, Head Teacher

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