New Haling Road School given planning permission - with conditions
06/09/2013 09:04:00......Posted by Jason Perry
As is usual on most Thursday nights, I sat on Planning Committee last night.
We had a very difficult decision to make with regard to a new primary school in Haling Road. Like most of the country Croydon has a chronic shortage of primary school places. However, unlike many authorities, Croydon is investing millions into building new schools and expanding existing schools - this Conservative Council really is investing in the future of our children. No doubt many people will have heard of other boroughs on the news this week that have sent their children to school in redundant offices and empty shops!
It is against this backdrop that a decision needed to be made with regard to the proposals at Haling Road.
The site is indeed tight, but it is well screened and does offer some staff parking, which many sites do not.
There is potential for overlooking to properties to the East of the school and I was, therefore, pleased that the applicant had listened to these concerns and added opaque glass to that elevation, thereby reducing the impact.
There will also be an opportunity for community hire of the school halls, which will a great benefit to local people, particularly as there is a lack of community halls in the area, though the hours of use have also been conditioned in order to protect the amenity of surrounding occupiers.
Traffic will probably be the biggest issue and that is why the committee insisted that the school travel plan be in place before the school opens. It will fill up one year at a time, so it will be a little time before the full impact is known.
In speaking on the item I did express that many local residents have concerns, but that there are also a large number of local families that would welcome a new school within walking distance.
I insisted that additional conditions be added to the development, namely that the roof teaching terrace was to be for teaching only, and not for play or hire. I also insisted that there be much stronger landscaping conditions to soften the impact of the school in the street.
These applications are never easy to decide, but with these additional conditions added I voted, on balance, to support the new school.
This was a tough decision for me, but I trust that it will ultimately be a great benefit to local residents and an asset to the area.