Now that the decision has been taken tonight to refer the expansion plans at Grimsdyke school back to the Harrow Council Executive we would like to see the Hatch End Association take a much stronger stance, insisting upon a credible transport plan before any decision to go ahead.
Thanks to Susan Hall and Jean Lammiman for their part & hard work in this decision.
I have read the application forms and attended the meeting in Grimsdyke back in December 2015. In the consultation meeting in December 2015, a councillor unoquivically confirmed that additional yellow lines would be painted outside the debated “new potential entrance”. I think this is probably why such a level of suspicion exists between the residents and the council over this matter. Indeed, I cannot say with 100% certainty that an additional entrance will or will not be opened which is a sad reflection on just how unclear the planning documents are to the general public.
My big worry with the plans is that if the council have recognised that there is significant objection to the proposals and give the impression of not including opening an additional entrance as part of the plans, something rather underhand has the potential to happen…
The School has always had the option over decades of opening the ‘additional’ (fire exit) entrance at any time they wanted. Emergency vehicles have been allowed to use it for years. The main reason it hasn’t been used for other purposes (a general entrance) is that the ground is not fit for use all year round (it is grass). Anyone can look at the relevant documents on the proposals that discuss this to verify. If a pathway is paved as part of this proposal from the current fire exit (additional entrance) to the main school over the school playing fields, it will again be up to the school just to open the door and that will not need any council approval to do this.
This is why what may seem as an unrelated part of the plans now (building a pathway to the fire exit) is actually why there is so much consternation. Once the pathway is built and the residents are placated by there not being an additional entrance being opened, the school will very easily just decide to open the gate and start using it as an entrance and although it will not technically be part of the the current proposal, it is an inevitable byproduct. If not, why build the pathway at all? The consultation meeting back in December 2015 contained a lot of officials who were happy to go on record saying that yellow lines would be painted outside the new ‘entrance’ area. I can only go on what was said to me by officials.
I appreciate all efforts of the Hatch End Association, together with local resident movements but I ask everyone to study the facts as they are, and not be misled by either the council or the school. Politically the council may well not put opening a new entrance on the plans to placate the residents but if they agree to build a pathway to the new exit and thus, make it ready for use as an entrance, the school can take the decision to open it and no one party gets the blame for upsetting local residents opposed to the opening of a new entrance and the yellow lines outside it that will invariably follow. I am encouraged by the support that the Hatch End Association has given this project but am wary that this is not the only project they have the resources to follow and want to put some facts in the open just incase anything falls through the cracks as I believe that there is more to this proposal than meets the eye and it would be a deep pity if it was not fully scrutinised from all potential angles, not just the surface (ever-changing and sometimes contradictory) feedback from the council. We have to ask the right questions about the true reason for paving a route to a new exit and its ramifications on traffic and parking. If events currently play out, there is the potential for uproar amongst local residents. I am yet to meet any local resident in favour of opening a new additional entrance to the school.
It is for this reason that we must have clarity from both the council and school on this matter before it is too late.
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