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.)




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