The school will be a Primary School for children between 4-11 years old. It is proposed that a dedicated pick-up and drop-off area for vehicles, and parking for staff in accordance with local standards, will be included within the final design. A decision will need to be taken as to whether the school would be a 2-form, or a 3-form entry school, which refers to the number of classes in each year group. A 2-form entry school would have 420 pupils in total and a 3-form entry school would have 630 pupils in total. In summary, each school year within the Primary School, will either have 2 classes or 3 classes per age group. It is possible that a nursery will be provided as part of the school development, and these children would be in addition to the above pupil numbers. Ultimately, the size of the school will be determined by pupil number projections, the Council will prepare a planning application for the school, which will be applied for separately by RBWM.
We are keen to reduce travel by car to school sites. Partly we would need the access to the site to be easy and safe for pedestrians and cyclists/scooters. Equally, we know that schools themselves tend to be very aware of their traffic impact and most have travel plans which set out how cycling/walking can be increased. More widely, we are talking with Highways colleagues about how home to school travel by car can be reduced.
A new priority junction onto Cookham Road, with the provision of a new right turn lane to serve the site, is proposed and has been designed in accordance with all relevant highway standards and current design guidance. Detailed discussions have taken place over the past few years with Highways Officers at RBWM and the new junction has been agreed in principle. The existing Aldebury Road junction will be closed and a new junction to the north would be formed. There will be no changes to the southern Aldebury Road junction, meaning there will still be two points of access to the existing Spencer’s Farm residential area. There will be no vehicle access to the site via Westmead except for emergency vehicles. The proposals include connections into existing pedestrian and cycle routes to the north east of the site across the watercourse and new pedestrian and cycle routes are proposed as part of the proposed main site access.
Assessment work has shown that the junction will operate within adequate capacity once the site is fully built out, including when the school is operating during both weekday morning and evening peak periods. A more detailed transport assessment will be prepared to accompany a future planning application, which will look at likely effects on individual junctions and the best solutions for travelling to the site by non-car modes. The assessment will also take into account the effects of other developments coming forward in the local area, including the site at Hollands Farm, Bourne End and the design of the new junction is making generous allowance for larger refuse and delivery vehicles visiting the site.
In the unlikely event that the main access route into the site was blocked, it will be possible for emergency vehicles to use Westmead. Collapsible bollards (or similar) will however be used on the proposed connection to Westmead to ensure that this route is not for general access.
Our planning application will be an outline application with “means of access” for detailed consideration. Our application will specify that Westmead would be for pedestrian / cycle / emergency access only and this will be controlled by a planning condition. Anyone who wanted to “undo” this in the future would have to apply for planning permission to do so, but it will be specified in the Site Masterplan Document and Design Code that Westmead is for emergency access only, and so the starting point for a potential future planning application would be that the proposal was contrary to planning policy.
The road over the bridge is subject to a maximum 13 tonne weight limit and is not a limit to the number of movements across it. This is primarily to restrict the bridge’s use by larger vehicles connected to the nearby industrial estate, to protect its character and prevent further damage. Any heavy vehicle visiting the site would be subject to the same restrictions for the bridge’s use. There will be a Construction Management Plan as part of a future planning application and this would include a routing strategy for any heavy construction vehicles accessing the site.
There will be a dedicated parking area for the school and assessment work prepared so far shows that the proposed new access point is sufficient in capacity terms to cope with the short bursts of vehicle inflows to the site at school drop-off and pick-up times. Parking provision for the residential element of the scheme will be determined at a later date, through a Reserved Matters planning application, in line with the Council’s parking standards.
A significant area of new, managed open space will be provided along the site’s eastern boundary. The detail of what this area will include is being explored and will be one of the subjects of discussion at the engagement workshop. It is intended that the area will include children’s play space and biodiversity enhancements. It is expected that the maintenance of all the public green spaces on the site will be done through a management company.
It will all be retained. In relation to badgers, we are aware of some activity within the adjacent woodland and opportunities to retain and protect this habitat will be taken.
Yes, the site is currently allocated as greenbelt, but will be removed from the greenbelt when the Borough Local Plan becomes adopted at the end of this year.
There will be a legal agreement which accompanies any planning permission (as there is with all applications of this size) and that will stipulate that the open space has to remain as such in perpetuity. It is a legally binding document.
The site will be an allocated housing site in the new Local Plan. A variety of housing types and tenures will be proposed and this will be informed by the relevant Council’s housing needs assessment at the time. The scheme will deliver 40% affordable housing, and this will be controlled through a legal agreement as part of the planning permission.
A full planning application is still required. The outline sets out broad principles, but the detail has to follow and needs approval in the normal way. In addition, we have offered to submit a Design Code with our application which is a prescriptive document detailing how the site will have to be developed by the future housebuilder. The Council can then include a planning condition requiring any future applications to come forward in accordance with that design code.