Kingston School expansion get the go-ahead!

As many may already know, the planning application for improvements and expansion of Iford & Kingston School got the go-ahead at the May meeting of the East Sussex County Council Planning Committee. Whilst I’m sure we all support better facilities for the children at the school, I was saddened by the County Council’s decision not to include any significant funds for highway and footpath improvements to try and alleviate the traffic problems caused by parents from outside the village having to drop off and collect their children. The County Council’s policy of expanding the school will add even more rush-hour traffic problems to Kingston. (click below to read more)

Your County Councillor, Carla Butler, and I had discussions back in January with the County officers and we believed they were going to put an innovative plan for drop-off and pickup at either Wyevale Garden Centre or Spring Barn Farm car parks (subject to agreements with those organisations). The plan would have included significant improvements to some foot paths and a controlled crossing at the end of Wellgreen Lane with Newhaven Road. The Wyevale option would have had the double benefit of helping traffic calming on the C7 and facilitating a ‘walking train’, for children to walk to school safely. Carla and I put forward the idea of using our community bus service (the CTLA) to provide pickup and drop-off for parents and children at strategic locations in Newhaven and Lewes thus avoiding the need for parents to bring their children by car to the school. Both the bus and the off-site parking ideas were dropped without letting either Carla or I know, and so the stripped down plan went forward to the committee.

I believe the actual procedure at the committee meeting on 16 May was abominably handled by the chairman [Councillor Godfrey Daniel (Labour, Hasting], which ended up with him preventing both Carla Butler and I from speaking. Cllr Daniel said that Carla wasn’t allowed to speak as the committee were operating National Park rules and she wasn’t the ‘local member’ for the National Park. Here is a video of what he said: http://bit.ly/2aKSIMB. What he, and whoever was advising him, seemed to have overlooked is the fact that there are no ‘local members’ of the Park Authority. Actually the National Park do allow local District & County members to speak. The minute give no record of the` chairman’s decision not to let Carla Butler speak. See page 12:

Minutes of May 2016 ESCC Planning Meeting

Thankfully, no such impediment was made for Kingston Parish Council. Tony Wheeler, representing the parish put forward well-articulated concerns relating to the increasing traffic congestion problems. Sadly, the committee were not advised of the potential plans to alleviate traffic problems and the application was approved.

This is what the planning condition say about the traffic and access issues:

  1. Construction of the new site access from Wellgreen Lane shall not commence until details have been approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Details shall include (but are not limited to) a construction specification, gradients, surface water drainage. The access shall be constructed in accordance with the approved details. Reason: In the interests of highway safety.
  2. The areas indicated on the approved drawings for the parking and circulation of vehicles shall not be used for any other purpose and shall be retained for this purpose at all times and the approved extension shall not be occupied until the amended parking arrangements have been made available. Reason: To ensure provision of the parking and circulation facilities in relation to the authorised use of the development.
  3. Before the extension is occupied details of cycle and scooter parking shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved details shall be implemented in full and retained thereafter. Reason: To ensure adequate provision of cycle and scooter parking.
  4. Before the first occupation of the development hereby permitted, a Framework Travel Plan shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The Travel Plan shall include initiatives and targets for reduced car use by School users together with a mechanism for monitoring and review. Reason: To increase awareness and use of alternative modes of transport for school journeys.

It seems that the school are left with the problem of coming up with a ‘Travel Plan’ without any money from the ESCC to back it!  All that included in the officer’s report (approved by the ESCC) is just £5000 to deal with traffic problems:

“a financial contribution of £5000 payable to the Highway Authority towards the costs of a Traffic Regulation Order. The Traffic Regulation Order would seek to extend the existing school ‘Keep Clear’ markings in Wellgreen Lane and to make them mandatory”.

For the full report click here:

SDNP_15_06077_RE3-DELEGATED_REPORT_BY_OFFICER-654360

Kingston School Pic Sussex Express

http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/county-news/expanding-primary-school-will-aggravate-chaotic-traffic-problem-warns-councillor-1-7392093

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