'A child may be injured' - Concerns raised over primary school planned for St George's Church of England School playing fields
PUBLISHED: 09:42 09 November 2017
© Michael Kempf
Kent County Council gave approval to the plans last night
Plans for a new primary school on the grounds of a Gravesend secondary school have raised “serious safety concerns” and objections from Sport England.
On Wednesday, planning councillors from Kent County Council approved a new 420-pupil primary school, built on the playing fields of St George’s Church of England School.
But with traffic from Shears Green Junior School already filling surrounding roads, concerns have been raised, despite plans to widen Westcott Avenue as an access road.
Lauren Sullivan, councillor for Northfleet and Gravesend West said: “I have serious safety concerns that a child may be injured due to increased car usage in dropping children to school.
“While some parents have the time to walk their children to school, most have jobs to get to or have children in different schools so are forced to use their cars.
“I do not object to the principle of this scheme, as primary school places are desperately needed in the area.
“Should the access to the new school come from another road, such as Wrotham Road or via the Morrison’s roundabout, this would ease the anticipated increased pressure.”
Kent County Council Highways and Transport raised no objection to the plans, while KCC has said the plans have made “considerable allowance for parking and drop off, which has been consulted on with KCC and Gravesham council planners and highways officers”,
The proposal has raised further concerns from Sport England, which has said fields planned for development are not being suitably replaced.
Under the proposals, the new school would have an artificial all-weather pitch (AWP).
Objecting to the proposals, Sport England said: “Playing fields should not be built on unless the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality.
“This application does not satisfy this test as the AWP is clearly far smaller than the playing field land proposed to be lost.”
Following Wednesday’s approval,the plans will now be referred to Sajid Javid, secretary of state for local government and communities, to address Sport England’s concerns.
Subject to Mr Javid’s response, building could be underway in the new year.
If approved, developers hope the first phase of building work will be complete by September 2018, when the school will open to its first 90 pupils as a one-form entry school.