Partial demolition and erection of a three storey extension at front to provide new classrooms and entrance area with associated facilities; refurbishment, extension and alterations to existing school incorporating the enlargement of hall involving an increase in height, new staircase enclosure, extension of corridors and new windows with additional car parking facilities and landscaping.
The Committee considered a report on the above application for the partial demolition and erection of a three storey extension at front to provide new classrooms and entrance area with associated facilities. Refurbishment, extension and alterations to existing school incorporating enlargement of hall involving an increase in height, new staircase enclosure, extension of corridors and new windows with additional car parking facilities and landscaping.
The application had been de-delegated by Councillor Penneck.
Officers clarified that the original proposal was a maximum 41 additional staff, however it was unlikely there would be more than 20 on site at any one time and around 46% of staff travelled sustainably.
Alexander McLeish, an objector, and Councillor Marlene Heron, a ward councillor, addressed the meeting under Standing Order 31, and Kieran Holliday, William Smith, and Steve Bradford, the applicants replied.
The principal issues raised by Mr McLeish were:-
· The photos shown to the committee did not accurately reflect the on street parking situation in the local area as it was normally difficult to move in the surrounding roads.
· There was on street parking due to the school from 6.30am into the evening.
· The parking and access issues were causing problems for local residents and had caused an issue for an ambulance to access a property in the past.
· The goodwill of the local community was starting to be strained by the attitude of the school in recent years.
· The proposal did not provide an alternative solution to the need for expansion.
· Consultation with the local community was done at late notice and request genuine consultation is completed with residents.
· Residents felt their concerns were being put to aside and not considered.
· A petition had been submitted due to the level of residents concerns.
· The site was overdeveloped already.
In response to Member questions Mr McLeish stated that the schools meeting with residents regarding the proposal was arranged six days in advance and residents were informed that the development was a ‘done deal’. A further meeting was arranged by ward councillors with the school. It was felt by residents that there was an absence of long term planning for school places, and that while it was acknowledged additional school places were needed, Greenshaw was not felt to be the right location. Mr McLeish clarified that it was felt that the proposal was over dominant and would not fit with the rest of the school site.
The principal issues raised by Councillor Marlene Heron were:-
· There was an understanding that there was a need to expand schools in the borough.
· A meeting was arranged with local residents and the school three weeks ago and residents felt that there had been enough expansion on the site in recent years and that there was little room left on the site.
· The school was well served by buses, however parking issues were experienced on the surrounding roads as staff and sixth form students drove to school and parked very close to residents access to their properties.
· It was estimated there were 300 car journeys twice daily and a further 99 was expected with this proposal.
· The school had developed an ambitious School Travel Plan, however there were queries as to how this could be monitored.
· That the street frontage and highways improvements should be made by the proposed development is opened.
· That the school should improve its engagement with local residents.
· That any council review of CPZs should include this area.
· Construction conditions were necessary to ensure there was no work on site on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
· The landscaping condition needed to be reviewed.
In response to Member questions Councillor Heron stated that the traffic survey was completed by the school and was not independent.
Officers stated that they would consider enforcement if there were breaches to conditions, however the council was dependent on residents reporting the breaches. School Travel Plans do have specific dates by which the school should achieve the targets. Furthermore Transport for London had introduced the STARS scheme which ensures School Travel Plans are robust, however officers worked with the schools rather than imposing punitive sanctions.
Officers suggested that that the Construction Method Statement could include specific hours that building works could take place during, and how delivery vehicles would access the site. An additional condition was further suggested for the creation of a residents liaison group. Officers further suggested an additional condition, that before the development was opened highways improvements would need to be introduced.
The Highways Engineer informed the committee that the highways grant would be used to review improvements to Grennell Road to alleviate congestion and reduce nuisance parking.
The principal issues raised by Mr Holliday, Mr William Smith and Mr Steve Bradford were:-
· That the local authority was experiencing a significant challenge to provide school places for all young people.
· Officers were planning for future school provision.
· A number of schools across the borough were expanding and it was thought an additional one or two schools would be necessary to meet demand.
· Two form entry was considered to be the maximum the Greenshaw School site could take.
· The school acknowledged the traffic issues in the surrounding area and would support a traffic review.
· The school had submitted a School Travel Plan and were committed to educate all on sustainable travel.
· The school would limit the construction hours on site.
· Original application suggested a 20% increase in staff, however this figure has been lowered to 21 as the school would not be able to support an additional 41 members of staff.
· 85% of students of the school lived within Sutton and the majority of Year 7 students lived within 1.3km of the site.
· The school had a policy to promote strong relationships but acknowledged that improvements could be made to improve relations with the local community.
In response to Member questions Mr Bradford stated there were around 100 bike racks on site, though not all were used. Mr Smith stated that the school could not control parents driving to the school beyond constructive conversations; however there was a strong staff presence on the gate at the beginning and end of the school day. Staff did however discuss with students who drove regarding acceptable parking in the local area.
Mr Bradford informed the committee that the school invited around 180 local residents to two consultation meetings in February 2015, and following feedback did make two changes to the proposal. A further session was arranged by ward councillors and hosted by the school three weeks before the meeting.
The school were happy to comply with setting up a residents liaison group and limiting the construction hours, however did raise concerns whether this would effect the proposed opening in September 2016 so would need to discuss further with the appointed contractors.
The committee acknowledged the need for school expansions and that there had been concerns raised regarding the design of the building. Members noted that residents had raised a number of concerns regarding parking and the ability for traffic to move in the surrounding roads, but recognised that a grant would be provided to make highway improvements to the area which it was hoped would alleviate issues experienced by local residents. The committee requested that consultation on any possible school expansions began earlier in the planning process. Members further requested that the proposed additional conditions were included in any decision to grant.
A poll vote on the officers’ recommendation to grant permission was held in accordance with Standing Order 31.4, when there voted:
To grant (9) Councillors Samantha Bourne, Kevin Burke, Richard Clifton, Margaret Court, Vincent Galligan, Hamish Pollock, Jason Reynolds, Tony Shields and Graham Whitham
Abstainted (1) Councillor Patrick McManus
Resolved: That planning permission be granted for application No. B2015/71406/3FR, subject to the conditions, reasons and informatives set out in the Appendix to these Minutes.
Councillor Shields informed the committee that he had an interest in a property on Aultone Way.