At the start of the item the Chair advised as this was a deferred item only the four Members who had heard the application at the last meeting were able to
take part in the discussion and vote.
The report was then presented by the Senior Planner.
The Chair of the Committee commented when the application was first heard Members had a number of concerns which included the suggested pick up and drop off area and the design of the overall application. The Senior Planner advised the applicant had looked at the design and had improved the design quality of the overall application.
Members heard the Council had an obligation to provide additional Primary Schools, with the proposed school to be two from entry and would assist with the mitigation of primary schools and early years provision.
Councillor Watson raised concerns to the location of site and queried as to how traffic was to be mitigated, she gave an example of the Chafford Hundred schools and the traffic in the area around the Schools at drop off and pick up times. Planning Officers advised with regards to the location of the site, the application had been given special circumstances. They continued to advise the applicant had looked for alternative available land within the borough however this location was the best place for the proposed school. The Transport Development Manager commented the drop off point would mitigate the traffic impact within the area with the schools location being safe walking distance for those children living locally and if required school transport could be applied for. He continued by saying he understood Members concerns however based on Council policy the application met highway requirements.
During the debate Councillor Piccolo stated he understood the concerns with regards to traffic in the area, however there was also a requirement for additional school places within the borough and he felt it would be more effective to have additional school places now then to have no places in the future. He further stated he appreciated the concerns of local residents.
Councillor Polley commented the application was well questioned when presented at last meeting Members raised concerns such as the design of the application. She continued by stating it was important to not only build new homes within the borough but also the infrastructure such as schools to go with these developments and therefore to allow the growth.
The Chair stated he felt deferring the item at the last meeting due to the number of questions and concerns was the right thing to do. He mentioned he hoped the drop off and pick up points would reduce the traffic pressure within the area.
Councillor Watson agreed with the provision of new schools, however she felt the location was not the right place, as with a new primary school they would also be the need for new secondary schools. She continued by mentioning although it was expected that children would walk to school this was not always doable. The Strategic Lead Education Support Services explained to Members the Pupil Place Plan was used when looking at where new schools were most required. At present there were children being transported across the borough. This application would allow children to attend a local school.
The Chair proposed the officer’s recommendation and was seconded by the Vice-Chair.
For: (3) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair), Georgette Polley (Vice-Chair) and Terry Piccolo
Against: (1) Councillor Lee Watson