Fringe Box



Letter: Fears Over Plans For New School Building

Published on: 1 Feb, 2016
Updated on: 1 Feb, 2016

From Dr Mary Warren

A plan submitted to Guildford Borough Council (Ref: 16/P/00033) is to consolidate Send First School and St Bedes School on to one site – a proposal to which very few people could object.

However, instead of demolishing both buildings and constructing a new state-of-the-art school which will last for years, it is proposed to put up a low-cost building constructed from modular units and squeezed into a corner of the field directly behind our back fence. The access for all school traffic will be via Send Barns Lane. This raises several serious concerns.

emails letterOne is the increase in school traffic. Although they say the numbers in the new school will not change, it is now planned that all 420 children will enter through the Send Barns Lane gate instead of the 174 that currently come to Send First school.

This will lead to a marked increase in the school traffic and to congestion on the road.

Anyone who travels down Send Barns Lane during school drop off and pick up knows there are already considerable problems with this as it is.

This has not been adequately addressed in the proposal. In fact, the only mention made of the traffic problems is to say they are consulting with the Highways Agency about a ‘qualitative’ change but we fail to see how an increase from 174 to 420 children can be considered ‘qualitative’ and not ‘quantitative’!

It is time some radical option is considered such as an in/out one-way system with separate entrance and exit gates and with a drop off/pick up point. This would keep the traffic flowing albeit slowly and might alleviate the parking problems.

Alternatively, all school parking could be banned along Send Barns Lane and residents should be issued with parking permits.

The second point of concern is the actual position of the new school building which it is planned to put directly behind the properties immediately adjacent to the school on what is currently green belt land.

The new school will only be about 20 feet from the back fences, the length of a good sized room.

The building, itself, is two storeys high, out of character with the rest of the surrounding public buildings (i.e. Send School and the Villages Medical Centre which are only one storey high) but will appear like a three-storey building because of the slight upward slope of the gardens. This will lead to a considerable reduction in light in the properties as well as being visually intrusive.

The third concern is the marked increase in noise which will affect us, the immediately adjacent property, from the children and traffic related to the school as the suggested new access road runs directly along our boundary.

Already 174 children pass by the windows but no goods traffic at the moment.

We have noted that there are frequently early morning and occasionally late night deliveries.

This and the presence of 420 children and not 174 will cause considerable noise disturbance and invasion of privacy.

Many of these problems could be solved by re-positioning the new school behind Send First School which, we understood, was the original plan.

The current St Bedes is set in the middle of playing fields. We fail to understand why it has to be crammed into the corner of the field directly behind the back fences.

The play areas could easily be re-arranged around a more centrally placed St Bede’s.

We feel the current planning application highlights the current tendency to ignore the rights of the individual over the wishes of big business when planning issues are considered.

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Responses to Letter: Fears Over Plans For New School Building

  1. Sarah Charnock Reply

    February 10, 2016 at 9:12 am

    In reply to Dr Mary Warren:

    I totally agree with you this is a very poorly designed scheme with no regard for the schools amenity.

    Of course it will be the children and staff of the future school who will suffer as well as those using the A247 commuting past every morning, not to mention the immediate neighbours who must be flabbergasted at the prospect of having a two storey huge ‘portacabin’ like structure plonked on their doorstep.

    There is plenty of room on these two school sites separated by local authority land, so why shoehorn this structure right in the corner of the smallest plot with no room for future expansion, especially as the population is increasing?

    I wonder whether they are telling us the whole story. For instance, the planning applicants say that the old school buildings will be demolished and returned to playing fields. However, the council can give no guarantees that this will be the case, other than a planning condition, and have indeed earmarked this land for removal from the green belt.

    I bet within five years there will be housing on the old St Bede’s site and whilst I am not against housing, I am against it being at the expense of our school children’s amenity.

    From reading the consultation comments online, no one is against the amalgamation of the two schools and a new school building, people are grateful that a government grant is paying for it, but people can see that this is a very poorly designed scheme.

    The mind set from the authorities seems to be “we’ve got this money and we have to spend it quickly or we’ll lose it!”

    Well if this gets approved let this poorly designed school be their legacy!

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