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the parents that signed up their kids to the School in the beginning were told that the original School buildings were "out of date, do not meet modern teaching standard requirements and are inefficient in design and had to be replaced" (rather than simply "will be refurbished" as the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).

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