Campaign group claims school plans are flawed

Essex County Standard: Campaign group claims school plans are flawed Campaign group claims school plans are flawed

CAMPAIGNING cul-de-sac residents claim council plans for a new primary school are based on an eight-year-old Google Earth image.

The Fernlea Residents’ Action Group (FRAG), which is behind the claim, is fighting Essex County Council’s proposals to build the 420-pupil New Braiswick Academy on land off Fernlea and Apprentice Drive, Colchester.

The council wants access to the £5million school from Apprentice Drive and out via Fernlea, a cul-de-sac.

Angry Fernlea residents say their street wouldn’t be able to cope with the increased traffic and Apprentice Drive should bare the brunt of it.

FRAG, via Freedom of Information requests, has obtained details about the council’s research into the proposals.

The Google image FRAG says it used features the former Flakt Woods factory that has since been demolished and replaced with hundreds of homes.

The school would be built on land north of those homes and accessed via Tufnell Way and through to Apprentice Drive.

But since 2006 the Tufnell Way junction with Bergholt Road has been widened to cope with more traffic.

Caroline Withers, FRAG spokesperson, said: “The traffic consultants employed by ECC, inform the Design Team at the meeting April 7 that they have used Google Earth to review the road layout.

“Firstly, to ascertain if a low articulated lorry could get around and secondly they state that the Fernlea junction is wider than Tufnell Way.

“If they had been to site they would not have made this statement, as it is wrong. However with Google Earth satellite image showing the area in 2006 this would be the conclusion you would draw. The Tufnell Way junction had not been widened then.

“It is estimated that traffic will increase by 285 per cent at the Fernlea junction, impacting safety and security of all residents.”

FRAG obtained the “flawed” plans via minutes from an Essex County Council meeting, using the Freedom of Information Act.

Mrs Withers added: “I downloaded Google Earth and the actual date of the satellite image is October 9 2006, prior to the building of the New Braiswick Park housing development and the widening of the Tufnell Way junction by demolishing two houses. “ Essex County Council wants to start building the Braiswick New Academy this summer on nine acres of land it owns.

The school, sponsored by the Learning Pathways Trust, is scheduled to open in September 2015.

Colchester Council’s planning committee is set to review the plans tonight but it will be the county council is due to decide on the plans on July 25.

A council spokesperson said : "ECC have followed the appropriate process regarding granting planning permission for a school and have been fully transparent throughout. We have listened to the community and the individual comments and concerns will be properly considered and assessed by the planning authority."

Comments (11)

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7:22pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Ontheball says...

What the hell do you expect from the incompetents in Chelmsford, they know s+d all about Colchester and it shows in everything they do (or more to the point, don't do)!

Why an access road from the Woods development wasn't considered over the rail line and on to Spring Lane roundabout is beyond me. I did speak to the so-called chief planner for Colchester before the development took place and he didn't even know where I was talking about, let alone think to do something about the single access to a 700 property estate.
What the hell do you expect from the incompetents in Chelmsford, they know s+d all about Colchester and it shows in everything they do (or more to the point, don't do)! Why an access road from the Woods development wasn't considered over the rail line and on to Spring Lane roundabout is beyond me. I did speak to the so-called chief planner for Colchester before the development took place and he didn't even know where I was talking about, let alone think to do something about the single access to a 700 property estate. Ontheball
  • Score: 1

10:04pm Thu 10 Jul 14

eponymous coward says...

"Open and Transparent"? Essex County Council manage to commission a traffic survey that is 8 years out of date and the whole junction has changed in the mean time? This incompetence is only revealed through a freedom of information request? "Listened to the community"? Failed to include the responses from 300 residents who all rejected the flawed proposal. Independent traffic surveyors completely reject all the conclusions in the ECC planning document and show it to be riddled with inaccuracy.

The simple fact is that Essex County Council have not listened to the community at any point, have not changed or amended the plans and are attempting to build an unwanted school in the wrong location to create a traffic nightmare throughout North Station. They are doing this without any visible accountability and will simply wash their hands of it when the whole thing goes wrong.
"Open and Transparent"? Essex County Council manage to commission a traffic survey that is 8 years out of date and the whole junction has changed in the mean time? This incompetence is only revealed through a freedom of information request? "Listened to the community"? Failed to include the responses from 300 residents who all rejected the flawed proposal. Independent traffic surveyors completely reject all the conclusions in the ECC planning document and show it to be riddled with inaccuracy. The simple fact is that Essex County Council have not listened to the community at any point, have not changed or amended the plans and are attempting to build an unwanted school in the wrong location to create a traffic nightmare throughout North Station. They are doing this without any visible accountability and will simply wash their hands of it when the whole thing goes wrong. eponymous coward
  • Score: 8

10:51pm Thu 10 Jul 14

colchesterresident1 says...

Completely agree with these comments. Absolutely crazy to build this school on NBP when it is well known that much of its purpose is to serve the fothcoming Chesterwell Development up by severalls. Even more ludicrous to use out of date and inaccurate information and to propose using Fernlea. It seems that ECC want to push this school through at any cost! More traffic to add to Bergholt Road and North Station. I am not sure that the £19 million already set aside to try to attempt to resolve the traffic problems in this area will be enough.
Completely agree with these comments. Absolutely crazy to build this school on NBP when it is well known that much of its purpose is to serve the fothcoming Chesterwell Development up by severalls. Even more ludicrous to use out of date and inaccurate information and to propose using Fernlea. It seems that ECC want to push this school through at any cost! More traffic to add to Bergholt Road and North Station. I am not sure that the £19 million already set aside to try to attempt to resolve the traffic problems in this area will be enough. colchesterresident1
  • Score: 5

6:30am Fri 11 Jul 14

BraiswickLocal says...

Who in their right mind would consider putting such a proposal together? Situated at the end of 2 cul de sacs with poor access from both developments. At least our CBC councillors recognised that the Fernlea access is unworkable. Tufnell way marginally better.

Data provided by clr Ray Gooding shows only 16 children entering school age over the next 4 school admissions. That supposedly justifies a section of road that would be 300% more expensive to build than proposal 1 (access from Apprentice Drive only) - provided to us by a transport consultant commissioned to independently verify the Transport Assessment provided by ECC. This "benefit" is offset by a 285% increase in traffic through Fernlea which will support all traffic out of the school.

You just have to look at the state of Bergholt rd and North Station to see what a mess ECC have made of Colchester.

Put the school where the demand is - Chesterwell! Proximity to demand, central hub with access ensure the correct sight lines and visibility are allowed (Essex Design Guide) build it first then put the houses up around it. Let the people choose.
Who in their right mind would consider putting such a proposal together? Situated at the end of 2 cul de sacs with poor access from both developments. At least our CBC councillors recognised that the Fernlea access is unworkable. Tufnell way marginally better. Data provided by clr Ray Gooding shows only 16 children entering school age over the next 4 school admissions. That supposedly justifies a section of road that would be 300% more expensive to build than proposal 1 (access from Apprentice Drive only) - provided to us by a transport consultant commissioned to independently verify the Transport Assessment provided by ECC. This "benefit" is offset by a 285% increase in traffic through Fernlea which will support all traffic out of the school. You just have to look at the state of Bergholt rd and North Station to see what a mess ECC have made of Colchester. Put the school where the demand is - Chesterwell! Proximity to demand, central hub with access ensure the correct sight lines and visibility are allowed (Essex Design Guide) build it first then put the houses up around it. Let the people choose. BraiswickLocal
  • Score: 4

10:35am Fri 11 Jul 14

Smulder1 says...

Whilst i agree that sole access via Fernlea is not appropriate, as a resident on Tufnell Way, I'm concerned that this road is seen as an option for sole access. Tufnell way has a number of houses with no off road parking and so the road is always used for parking. There are increasing numbers of commuters parking on the road to avoid car park charges at the station, and so essentially Tufnell Way/Apprentice drive spends much of the time as a single track road, not allowing passing because of parked cars. The congestion here would be unbearable, and once you've fought your way out of that, you're on Bergholt Road, which is a joy at that time of day. Then you contend with North Station roundabout and the perils that brings. With more housing seemingly inevitable, how is this location even remotely viable for a school? At the planning meeting someone told me that he site had been acquired for a school and must have a school on it. When i queried that, i was told it was a decision made further up the chain. So people with no awareness of the site making decisions. Definitely in favour of a new school. Just not on Braiswick park until a new access road is built and Bergholt road/North Station is dealt with.
Whilst i agree that sole access via Fernlea is not appropriate, as a resident on Tufnell Way, I'm concerned that this road is seen as an option for sole access. Tufnell way has a number of houses with no off road parking and so the road is always used for parking. There are increasing numbers of commuters parking on the road to avoid car park charges at the station, and so essentially Tufnell Way/Apprentice drive spends much of the time as a single track road, not allowing passing because of parked cars. The congestion here would be unbearable, and once you've fought your way out of that, you're on Bergholt Road, which is a joy at that time of day. Then you contend with North Station roundabout and the perils that brings. With more housing seemingly inevitable, how is this location even remotely viable for a school? At the planning meeting someone told me that he site had been acquired for a school and must have a school on it. When i queried that, i was told it was a decision made further up the chain. So people with no awareness of the site making decisions. Definitely in favour of a new school. Just not on Braiswick park until a new access road is built and Bergholt road/North Station is dealt with. Smulder1
  • Score: 6

2:26pm Fri 11 Jul 14

Boris says...

Smulder1 wrote:
Whilst i agree that sole access via Fernlea is not appropriate, as a resident on Tufnell Way, I'm concerned that this road is seen as an option for sole access. Tufnell way has a number of houses with no off road parking and so the road is always used for parking. There are increasing numbers of commuters parking on the road to avoid car park charges at the station, and so essentially Tufnell Way/Apprentice drive spends much of the time as a single track road, not allowing passing because of parked cars. The congestion here would be unbearable, and once you've fought your way out of that, you're on Bergholt Road, which is a joy at that time of day. Then you contend with North Station roundabout and the perils that brings. With more housing seemingly inevitable, how is this location even remotely viable for a school? At the planning meeting someone told me that he site had been acquired for a school and must have a school on it. When i queried that, i was told it was a decision made further up the chain. So people with no awareness of the site making decisions. Definitely in favour of a new school. Just not on Braiswick park until a new access road is built and Bergholt road/North Station is dealt with.
Sounds as if you need residents-only parking in Tufnell Way, to thwart the commuters.
[quote][p][bold]Smulder1[/bold] wrote: Whilst i agree that sole access via Fernlea is not appropriate, as a resident on Tufnell Way, I'm concerned that this road is seen as an option for sole access. Tufnell way has a number of houses with no off road parking and so the road is always used for parking. There are increasing numbers of commuters parking on the road to avoid car park charges at the station, and so essentially Tufnell Way/Apprentice drive spends much of the time as a single track road, not allowing passing because of parked cars. The congestion here would be unbearable, and once you've fought your way out of that, you're on Bergholt Road, which is a joy at that time of day. Then you contend with North Station roundabout and the perils that brings. With more housing seemingly inevitable, how is this location even remotely viable for a school? At the planning meeting someone told me that he site had been acquired for a school and must have a school on it. When i queried that, i was told it was a decision made further up the chain. So people with no awareness of the site making decisions. Definitely in favour of a new school. Just not on Braiswick park until a new access road is built and Bergholt road/North Station is dealt with.[/p][/quote]Sounds as if you need residents-only parking in Tufnell Way, to thwart the commuters. Boris
  • Score: 4

10:52am Sat 12 Jul 14

Lexlee says...

A badly conceived and designed plan. Community Involvement was just a PR exercise and the commissioned Traffic Report was so poor my 8 year old could have written it! Who on earth shoves a large Primary school down the end of two cup de sacs, at the ar£e end of its proposed catchment area? Chelmsford. That's who. Local residents are going to be blighted by this school and the traffic issues it will bring but 'told you so' will have a hollow ring by then. Through Freedom of Information requests we've discovered that ECC are trying to do a backhand deal with Persimmon Homes to sell off some of the school land to build yet more houses on, in an area that is already massively overdeveloped! They haven't mentioned that in their planning application - funny that! It also goes a long way to explaining why they're trying to force an entirely unjustified and unsuitable access through Fernlea - to give Persimmon access to the proposed housing land! Criminal and fraudulent behaviour from ECC but why am I surprised?
A badly conceived and designed plan. Community Involvement was just a PR exercise and the commissioned Traffic Report was so poor my 8 year old could have written it! Who on earth shoves a large Primary school down the end of two cup de sacs, at the ar£e end of its proposed catchment area? Chelmsford. That's who. Local residents are going to be blighted by this school and the traffic issues it will bring but 'told you so' will have a hollow ring by then. Through Freedom of Information requests we've discovered that ECC are trying to do a backhand deal with Persimmon Homes to sell off some of the school land to build yet more houses on, in an area that is already massively overdeveloped! They haven't mentioned that in their planning application - funny that! It also goes a long way to explaining why they're trying to force an entirely unjustified and unsuitable access through Fernlea - to give Persimmon access to the proposed housing land! Criminal and fraudulent behaviour from ECC but why am I surprised? Lexlee
  • Score: 4

12:29pm Sat 12 Jul 14

fedup47 says...

So ECC has been 'open and transparent' has it. Maybe according to the KGB School of Public Relation but not as most ordinary citizens would recognise or expect of a Local Authority. The amount of misinformation put out and smoke screens that have been erected would do credit to a shady 'dirty tricks' organisation. Let us be clear - this school is being put in Braiswick because of the failure of the local authorities to take up the option of a second primary school on the Chesterwell development site which was provided for in Colchester Borough Council's approved Local Plan. We are entitled to ask why they failed to do this when it was the obvious place!
So ECC has been 'open and transparent' has it. Maybe according to the KGB School of Public Relation but not as most ordinary citizens would recognise or expect of a Local Authority. The amount of misinformation put out and smoke screens that have been erected would do credit to a shady 'dirty tricks' organisation. Let us be clear - this school is being put in Braiswick because of the failure of the local authorities to take up the option of a second primary school on the Chesterwell development site which was provided for in Colchester Borough Council's approved Local Plan. We are entitled to ask why they failed to do this when it was the obvious place! fedup47
  • Score: 6

1:36pm Sat 12 Jul 14

BraiswickLocal says...

One wonders if Councillor Ray Gooding were to attempt to build such a monstrosity in his own local community how long he would remain in office
One wonders if Councillor Ray Gooding were to attempt to build such a monstrosity in his own local community how long he would remain in office BraiswickLocal
  • Score: 3

3:15pm Sat 12 Jul 14

fedup47 says...

BraiswickLocal asks how long Councillor Ray Gooding would stay in power if he proposed such a monstrosity in his own local community. Even closer to home - how would he, and the other decision makers at County Hall plus the officers advising them, like an elevated access road within a couple of metres of their homes as they are proposing at then end of Fernlea?
BraiswickLocal asks how long Councillor Ray Gooding would stay in power if he proposed such a monstrosity in his own local community. Even closer to home - how would he, and the other decision makers at County Hall plus the officers advising them, like an elevated access road within a couple of metres of their homes as they are proposing at then end of Fernlea? fedup47
  • Score: 3

7:14pm Sat 12 Jul 14

BraiswickLocal says...

fedup47 wrote:
BraiswickLocal asks how long Councillor Ray Gooding would stay in power if he proposed such a monstrosity in his own local community. Even closer to home - how would he, and the other decision makers at County Hall plus the officers advising them, like an elevated access road within a couple of metres of their homes as they are proposing at then end of Fernlea?
Colchester is suffering a spate of nonsense planning decisions. I notice the number of traffic chaos articles on this site. Those are set to continue and become more frequent.
[quote][p][bold]fedup47[/bold] wrote: BraiswickLocal asks how long Councillor Ray Gooding would stay in power if he proposed such a monstrosity in his own local community. Even closer to home - how would he, and the other decision makers at County Hall plus the officers advising them, like an elevated access road within a couple of metres of their homes as they are proposing at then end of Fernlea?[/p][/quote]Colchester is suffering a spate of nonsense planning decisions. I notice the number of traffic chaos articles on this site. Those are set to continue and become more frequent. BraiswickLocal
  • Score: 2
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