Friday, 18 November 2016

Update on new schools on MOL


1. Waltham Forest Cycle Campaign have proposed the following conditions for the building of the schools:

  • "The school should develop an ambitious active travel plan to maximise the opportunities of its location, and maximise the number of staff and students walking or cycling to school. This might include walking/cycling ‘buses’ for students, recommended routes from feeder areas and cycle proficiency training for all students.
  • The school’s travel plans should also include restriction of vehicle access to the site, with minimal parking on-site and parking controls in the surrounding area. It could go so far as to copy trials currently ongoing in Edinburgh – where cars are banned from driving into and parking in streets around the schools at pickup/dropoff times (with obvious exceptions for blue badge holders etc.).
  • All staff who use motor vehicles to travel to/from the site to have regular training in the dangers they pose to people on bikes, and how to minimise risks of collision at the site. We recommend that any dropping off points should not involve vehicles crossing the Cycle Superhighway*.
  • All provision for cycling should be designed inclusively to accessible for staff or students who are disabled or with restricted mobility. In addition, the plans must enable parents to bring their children to school using cargo bikes or trailers – a method which is increasing in popularity within Waltham Forest. All routes for bikes should be designed to enable tricycles and cargo bikes to access the schools, and not just ‘conventional’ bikes.
  • The school should provide high quality and aspirational amounts of secure covered cycle parking for staff and students, including spaces for non-standard bicycles."
* note that the Cycle Superhighway is not yet complete and there will be another lane built on the south side of Lea Bridge Road.

In my haste to review the Cycle Campaign's letter on Facebook I wrongly thought that they were in favour of the school, and I probably lambasted them too much. In subsequent discussion however, it still turned out that they place little value on the building over of Metropolitan Open Land. Their restriction proposals on dropping-off and picking-up by vehicles near the school make sense in terms of preventing traffic build-up on Lea Bridge Road, but unless the majority of pupils and staff using the schools were to be cyclists or pedestrians then it's difficult to see how that would work. Maybe the Ice Centre will try to do a car-parking deal?

2. Very useful progress has been made by one of this group:

"Good news… The Athena Primary Academy is getting it’s knuckles rapped from the ASA* for its advert. It’s feels like an effective way to show them that we have muscles we can flex!
And, I have subsequently found out that it isn’t just the postcode that was wrong. The Thames Water Depot does have an address, which was on a previous planning application. It’s:
Thames Water Lea Bridge Road Depot
150A Lea Bridge Road
*Advertising Standards Authority

Hopefully one or two people will inform the newspapers carrying the ad, including Waltham Forest News, that the school should have stated "Subject to Planning Permission" when it advertised to parents.

3. The Athena Academy (proposed Primary school) has a page on Facebook. Several of our group have posted questions on the page and so far, answers are being given. This question elicited a very telling answer:

"Questioner to the schoolWill your curriculum include valuing the natural environment? How will that square with the school itself being on Metropolitan Open Land, which is supposed to be protected from development?

Athena Primary Academy
Athena Primary Academy Hello I value the natural environment and we will teach the children to do the same. At the moment the land is predominantly concrete and old buildings. After development, it will be more than 60% green space, with all the trees around the perimeter being kept.

Questioner's response: The promise was that the land would be returned to open space completely when Clancy Docwra moved out. There are number of reasons for opposition to the building of the schools on that land and one of them is that promises given when planning is agreed should be honoured".

Brilliant response, I thought.
4. One of the group has received this response from Mayor of London to an enquiry about MOL status and planning.

"With regard to the Thames Water Depot, a planning application does not appear to have been submitted for the construction of schools. Given the MOL designation of the site, any proposal to provide over 1,000 sq.m. of floorspace would be referable to the Mayor under the Mayor of London Order 2008. In accordance with the Order and once the application is made and referred, the Mayor will provide the Council with a statement setting out whether he considers that the application complies with the London, and his reasons for taking that view. The Mayor may also provide other comments."

Hopefuly people will monitor the planning applications to Waltham Forest and let us know when anything for the site comes up. Bear in mind there may be applications for the temporary buildings, or for either of the two separately-owned schools.

Thanks again for your interest. Please contact me with any other news to be circulated to this group of 60 email addresses (all of whom are real individuals known to me).


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