Agenda item

Meadow High School - 3348/APP/2023/138

Erection of a two-storey academic building (Use Class F1), demolition of existing temporary modular structures and partial demolition of existing main teaching building to facilitate connections to the main school, redevelopment of external hard and soft landscaped areas and associated works


Recommendations:  Approval + Sec 106


RESOLVED: That the application be approved.


Erection of a two-storey academic building (Use Class F1), demolition of existing temporary modular structures and partial demolition of existing main teaching building to facilitate connections to the main school, redevelopment of external hard and soft landscaped areas and associated works.


The Committee received an in-depth overview of the application from officers noting that the construction phase was proposed to take place for 54 weeks from July 2023 to July 2024 and that the school was to remain operational for that time; it was also highlighted that Royal Lane was not proposed to be used for construction traffic, instead construction traffic would utilise Peel Way. It was confirmed that not all parking spaces along Peel Way were proposed to be suspended and that no parking spaces would be suspended in the evening, night or early morning hours; it was also clarified that there would be no parking suspension during weekends, public holidays or school holidays when construction traffic could use Royal Lane without disrupting the operation of the school. It had been acknowledged by the applicant that local residents had concerns over construction access via Peel Way and they had responded by reducing the number of hours required for a parking suspension scheme. Officers considered the proposals to be acceptable given the need for SEND places in the Borough and subject to a condition that a full and detailed construction management plan be submitted. The application was recommended for approval.


A petition had been received objecting to the application and a written statement from the lead petitioner was read out. Key points of the statement included:


·         Residents of Peel Way and Benson Close by-and-large were not opposed to the Meadow School scheme itself and were sympathetic to its aims in helping children at the school.

·         The main concern of petitioners was the proposal to route large construction vehicles down what was normally a quiet residential cul-de-sac.

·         Another primary concern was the loss of parking on Peel Way for large parts of the construction period – a proposal that was deemed overly restrictive by residents despite the minor changes in the scheme now proposed.

·         Recent proposals to use the Royal Lane entrance for construction traffic instead of Peel Way outside of term-time were welcomed and would provide respite for residents of Peel Way. However, residents felt unclear as to why there was a need to use Peel Way for construction traffic at all as previous construction projects at the school had been known to use Royal Lane.

·         Petitioners deemed that the proposals to start the Peel Way parking suspension from 08:00, in contrast to the current residents scheme which began at 09:00, would be confusing for residents, and encouraged the Committee to explore the possibility of limiting the suspension to between 09:00 and 17:00 in line with the current residents parking management scheme.

·         Petitioners questioned the need for a year-long parking suspension when there would be relatively few of the largest articulated vehicles that need such restrictions, and most of those vehicles would only be needed at the start of the scheme.

·         There were concerns that the volume of HGV traffic could cause road damage and petitioners sought assurances that the road would be repaired following completion of the works.


Councillor Roy Chamdal, Ward Councillor for Colham & Cowley, was in attendance and addressed the Committee. Key points raised included:


·         Ward Councillors were not objecting to the application in principle, more the method of construction access; he went on to congratulate the residents for organising a petition.

·         There were concerns over losing parking spaces on one side of Peel Way during large parts of the construction period and questioned whether it was absolutely necessary and unavoidable to use Peel Way for construction traffic.

·         It was noted that many properties along Peel Way had dropped kerbs which would further limit the availability of spaces should one side of the road be restricted.


Councillor Ekta Gohil had submitted a written statement to be read to the Committee. Key parts of the statement included:


·         The need for the application was completely understood and the High School was an asset to the community.

·         It was requested that the Committee revaluate the need to use Peel Way for construction vehicles. Peel Way was not a main road but rather a quiet residential street, enjoyed by many families. The use of Peel Way would drastically decrease the quality of life for residents, who would suffer from reduced parking on weekdays.

·         Residents would also be burdened with the increased noise pollution and disturbances that come with large vehicles driving down the road.

·         The Ward Councillor encouraged the Committee to explore the possibility of using Royal Lane for construction traffic.


The agent for the application was also present and noted that concessions had already been made in terms of the hours of parking suspension along Peel Way but suggested that 08:30 to 17:00 could be acceptable as this would fit in with the school run for residents along Peel Way whilst allowing an important half hour from 08:30 to 09:00 for the delivery of construction materials. The Committee extensively discussed whether the parking suspension could start at 09:00 to be in line with the current parking management scheme along Peel Way; it was understood that the 30-minute period before 09:00 was vital for the delivery of materials to the site. The Committee also discussed the proposed end of day parking suspension hours and whether the suspension needed to finish at 17:00. It was confirmed that the 17:00 time had already been conceded down from 18:00 and any further reduction would have a significant impact on the construction programme.


The Committee noted the importance of such a publicly benefiting project and a significance was placed on not jeopardising the coming online date. Members queried the need to use Peel Way for construction traffic over Royal Lane; it was clarified that the location of the development site was adjacent to Benson Close and there would be difficulty in construction traffic gaining access to the site via the main school entrance on Royal Lane whilst the school was open. It was highlighted that there was a requirement for the school to remain operational during the construction period and the new development was required for the start of the 2024/25 academic year in September 2024.


The Committee questioned whether the farmland behind the school had been explored as a temporary means of access during construction. It was confirmed that this had been extensively explored but would have come at additional delays and cost to the project in facilitating access for HGVs. The agent confirmed that all options for access to the site had been thoroughly explored but the Department for Education’s requirement for the development to be complete and ready by the autumn 2024 school term deemed that there was no room for delays whilst alternative access was constructed or facilitated. It was also explained that, in terms of construction access from Royal Lane, the multi-use games area at the school locked off the construction site, which was adjacent to Benson Close, from the Royal Lane entrance for larger vehicles.


Members queried what enforcement would be put in place at the top of Peel Way to stop construction vehicles from arriving earlier than expected on site. It was noted that the construction logistics plan would cover this and that there would be marshals onsite to ensure there was no lingering of the construction traffic. The Committee were assured that this would be a heavily managed project and that the Highways Authority had confirmed that Peel Way was the most appropriate form of construction access.


The Committee were minded to implement a mechanism to regularly review the need for the parking suspensions whilst offering the levels of confidence that the construction contractor would need.


A Member of the Committee moved to defer determination of the application for a site visit, however the proposal was not seconded and debate continued.


Members were assured that construction traffic would not be using the bottom of Peel Way or Benson Close as a turning circle and it was confirmed that there would be enough space on the Meadow School site for the construction vehicles to turn around and leave in a forward gear. Members sought to ensure this was adhered to by way of condition. The Committee also sought to add to the construction logistics plan that all construction vehicles would be Euro VI compliant and that there would be no idling within the site and on roads approaching the site. It was also agreed that condition 12 should include the addition of pollution absorbing trees to maximise carbon absorption.


Members attention was drawn to the additional conditions proposed within the addendum, which were agreed by the Committee. The Chairman also sought to sign off on the construction logistics plan. The officers recommendation, inclusive of the amendments discussed were moved, seconded, and when put to a vote, unanimously approved.




1)    That the application be approved.


2)    That condition 5 be amended to state a 08.30am start time;


3)    That a condition be added to undertake a review of the parking suspension every 6 weeks;


4)    That condition 8 be amended to exclude construction traffic routing into Benson Close and to include signage to stop vehicles entering Benson Close;


5)    That condition 8 be amended to add the local road names for wheel washing;


6)    That condition 8 be amended to add no idling by construction vehicles;


7)    That condition 8 be amended to add the requirement for Euro VI compliant vehicles; and,


8)    That condition 12 be expanded to include pollution absorbing trees.

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