Moor Lane - Why undisclosed late matters matter to Chessington residents
Please read here Sport England's response to the planning application for a Special Needs school in Moor Lane in Chessington for which plans are up for approval tonight
Sport England states that the Moor Lane planning application is in breach of their own and national planning policies
Surely then there should be undisputable evidence that Moor Lane is the ONLY site available across Kingston and Richmond Boroughs where the much-needed special needs school can be built?
Kingston Council put forward to the Mayor of London many large brownfield sites across the Borough in order to support the massive development targets the borough now faces in the new London Plan
Why is one of these sites not being used for a special needs school rather than a greenfield site surrounded by low-rise residential housing?
Sport England insists that legal provision is made for the facilities at the new school to be open for community use in order to compensate the breaches of policy to which the loss of playing fields gives rise
It has already been judged that the proposed facility will create moderate to severe noise disturbance for local residents
However, the impact of community use of the proposed facilities outside of school hours has not been assessed by officers in their report to councillors recommending the application for approval
This omission gives residents around the site grounds for appealing any decision to approve this planning application
The report has only considered noise arising from use by the school. This is unacceptable given that the report states clearly that there is every intention for the school's facilities to be made available to the public until 9pm in the summer and until 7pm in the winter.
The report states:
"It is advised that the Trust have developed a plan for community usage, which focuses around the use of the school as a Autism hub in the community, and the use of the outdoor space and hard court games area for the wider community."
The council's own Environmental Protection Officer believes noise levels just from the school's use during daytime hours are barely acceptable
Similarly, no assessment has been made of the traffic and parking impacts of opening the school to community use outside of school hours
The school has a public transport accessibility rating of 1b which is the lowest possible, indicating that the majority of people using the facilities - will come by car
We all know that Richmond and Kingston residents need a special needs school. That fact is not being disputed
What is being disputed is the arbitrary way in which decisions are being made about what gets built where without proper justification and with what appears often to be a manipulated evidence-base and assessment of the impacts of any development proposal
We must not let the fact that residents need a special needs school mean that Kingston and Richmond councils get away with unsound and unjust planning decisions