by Ruth, Marlene, and Steve on 26 September, 2020
The Planning Appeal into the proposed new school on Rosehill Park has now finished after an eight day hearing. The Government is appealing against Sutton Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for the 8 form entry high school, with a SEN autistic school attached, on the disused All Weather pitch to the south of the Sports Village. The school would be built by the Government and operated by the Greenshaw Learning Trust.
All your ward councillors were able to attend the inquiry at various stages, and Cllr Steve Penneck presented their views and asked questions. Local residents and a residents’ association also gave their views. The main issues are the design of the building and the traffic, road safety and parking impacts.
The Council argues that the proposed design, which is for a 4-storey building at the front of the site, is monolithic and of poor quality, and would have a detrimental impact on the park. It would also, with narrow corridors and poor natural lighting, have a negative impact on the education the school could provide. Steve argued that the park was highly valued by the local community: ‘We are providing a superb parkland setting for this school. The school will be there for maybe 50 years or longer. In return we need a building that respects the heritage of its environment, and will provide a landmark to the north of Sutton. We also want a building that will inspire its students. The box structure with a uniform height and a flat elevation could be an office block anywhere in the country.’
The Council was also concerned about the impact of traffic on road safety and parking, both in the public car park, and on residential roads. They claim the traffic analysis done by the government is inadequate, and underestimates the number of journeys. The government is providing a staff car park on the school site, but this will still leave 25 cars needing to park either in the public car park or in surrounding roads. The access to the car park from Rose Hill will need to be widened, but there will still be safety issues with pupils arriving on foot and parents dropping off by car. The main pedestrian entrance for pupils will be from the footpath by the bowling green, but there is concern about the increased congestion around the bus stops, and along the narrow park-side pavement of Rose Hill. The government is proposing to widen the pavement by the Cranleigh Gardens bus stop by taking a strip of land from the park.
The Council has done a very good job in presenting the case against the school, but the Conservative Minister Robert Jenrick has taken the unusual decision to decide on this appeal himself, as he is legally able to do though this power is generally reserved for developments of national significance and not a local school.
So the Planning Inspector, who has been chairing the inquiry, will make a recommendation to him, which he may or may not accept. We are very concerned that whatever the Inspector recommends the school is likely to go ahead, so it has been important to make proposals to the Inspector which will minimise the problems as far as possible. This has not been easy, given the size of the concerns.
As your ward councillors we have been arguing for:
The Planning Inspector’s recommendation will not be known until the minister makes his decision, which is not expected until next February.2 Comments