Sunday, 21 May 2017

Aldi chops down trees

Former B&Q site

Residents win

Lea Bridge road school back again

Planning App is 171408


As many friends will know, the government's Education Funding Agency purchased the site at 150A Lea Bridge Road E5 9RJ from Thames Water in 2015 for the purpose of building academy/ free schools. There has been local (Waltham Forest and Hackney) opposition to this on educational, environmental and traffic grounds. Waltham Forest Council rejected the proposals at the pre-planning stage and this resulted in the original intended September 2017 opening of the schools (in temporary buildings) to be moved to September 2018. The applicants have now put forward formal planning application to Waltham Forest Planning Committee with added justifications. 

The full documents are at: planning.walthamforest.gov.uk/Planning/lg/GFPlanningSearch.page. You can just enter 171408 on the Application ID box to get to the list of documents.
The environmental grounds of concern are primarily about the loss/ restriction to the public of MOL. The applicant claims that there will be more green open space than is currently on the site but this will be sports pitches used by the schools. The removal of trees is another major concern: basically they want to remove 21 trees and 1 tree group in one area and 11 trees and 1 tree group in another part of the site. These trees include Wild Cherry and Hornbeam. Major visual impact will be to the lovely fruit trees that line Lea Bridge Road. A few are reported as dead, but mostly they are 40-year mature trees.

The traffic and travel plans are grotesque. Waltham Forest are holding out on the issues of incompatibility of two school entrances with the (yet-to-be-built) Mini-Holland cycle track on the south side of LB Road and the impact on the through vehicular traffic of turning cars going to pick up/ drop off. TfL are not too happy either.

One of the documents describes the search they made to find a suitable site. This was a complete farce. They looked at every large plot in the catchment area, including for instance Leyton Orient Football Ground, Arriva Bus Garage at Leyton Green, Leyton Sports Centre etc. The likeliest looking ones got discarded because their value was stated to be more than it was worth putting into an educational building. They pronounced the Thames Water site as the best one - although it is stated to be on a flood plain and contaminated land and has insufficient access to amenities in their judgment - it has already been purchased for the purpose! A bit of post-hoc rationalising going on, quite shamelessly.

There is the whole issue of the academy/ free school status which will galvanise many to object, but they will need to phrase objections according to the planning context.

The full documents are at: planning.walthamforest.gov.uk/Planning/lg/GFPlanningSearch.page. You can just enter 171408 on the Application ID box to get to the list of documents.

I can't see the deadline for objections to be sent in - has anyone had a letter with this detail on it? 

Claire