Grimsdyke School: construction work

APRIL 2016 – CONSTRUCTION WORK BEGINS
The planning application for the expansion of Grimsdyke School has been approved and work was due to begin on 25 April 2016. Local residents received a Project Newsletter from contractors Willmott Dixon informing them that they had planned the works to reduce the impact on the local community. They promise the following:
* to keep to working hours of 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays
* to have set delivery times outside of school morning drop off and afternoon collection times
* to notify residents of any unusual activity in advance where possible
* to locate all build machinery and materials within the school boundary
* to encourage visitors and contractors to use public transport

If you have any queries, contact:
Andy Beck, Construction Manager on 07800 525 334 or email andy.beck@willmottdixon.co.uk
Rob Purser, Senior Build Manager on 07870 510 792 or email rob.purser@willmottdixon.co.uk

FEBRUARY 2016 – COUNCIL PLANNING COMMITTEE
The planning application for the proposed expansion of the school will be discussed at the Planning Committee on 17 February 2016. The reference no is P/5736/15. Click on the link below to see the papers of the meeting.

https://www.harrow.gov.uk/www2/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=1001&MId=62677&Ver=4

JANUARY 2016 – ANONYMOUS LETTER
On 8 January an anonymous letter or circular from “residents that live near Grimsdyke School” was delivered by hand to houses living in the school’s vicinity, alleging that as part of the work being done for its enlargement, the Council planned “to open a new additional entrance at the top of Sylvia Avenue”. The letter asked residents to object about it to Harrow Planning Services. The allegation is wrong – and the Council has confirmed it is wrong to the Association.
Sadly, as often the case with anonymous letters, this letter is defamatory in tone and language, and insulting to the Council and its officials. The allegation is based on a misinterpretation or misreading of the planning application and its accompanying papers. In fairness to the anonymous authors, the documents listed in the application bundle are numerous, sometimes duplicated, and can be baffling in their description or continuing relevance. This may be down to the pressure on planning officers. It was also unfortunate that public notice of the application was on Christmas Eve, and automatically gave only the standard 21 days for comment. This would have been unacceptable if maintained, though as indicated below, comments may be provided until 15 February.
In all the 50 documents listed in the application papers, not all of which I have studied closely, I have found only one reference to a possible opening up of a second entrance, but that was not taken further. The critical document is the signed application form, where the answers to Question 6 show that there is no “new or altered vehicle access proposed to or from the public highway” nor any “new or altered pedestrian access”.
For myself, I accept that the application should be approved. I hope that central and local government officials have got their assumptions and forecasts right, and that they’re thinking about the consequences for the secondary level. The travel plan may represent the best the school can attempt. The only way to deal with illegal or thoughtless parking is by enforcement. It is up to the Council to carry out promises about providing the required resources for frequent checks, followed by penalty notices. Can the Council provide the resources when there will be demands for this from several schools in the borough? Past experience is a worry.
Bernard Wainewright, Planning Team, Hatch End Association

DECEMBER 2015 – PLANNING APPLICATION
The planning application for the proposed expansion of the school is now on the Council’s website. Description: Two-story rear extension with provision of new hard play areas, canopy over seating area, internal fencing, landscaping and additional parking to increase the two-form entry to a three-form entry school. (Demolition of existing temporary buildings.) Case Officer: Conor Guilfoyle 020 8736 6185. The reference no is P/5736/15.
Any resident who wishes to make a comment should do do as soon as possible since the Council only gives 21 days for making comments from 24th December to allow time for them to be included in the case officer’s report.  However, comments can still be sent in up to 24 hours before the meeting on 17th February and these will be put into an addendum to the report.

REPORT ON DROP-IN EVENT, 8 JULY 2015
The display was in two sections: Building Development and Traffic Management. There was opportunity for residents to comment on both displayed proposals.
The event was very well attended by parent and residents. The development proposals seemed reasonable to HEA committee members attending and will be reviewed fully when the planning application is made, which the HEA is advised will be the 15 November meeting of the Planning Committee.
The traffic section was not well received as no School Travel Plan was available and no new proposals were available. The HEA is advised that the draft Travel Plan is being amended after the event but was not available at the end of July. The HEA awaits the Travel Plan which must be presented with the Planning Application as well as a Traffic Assessment.

REPORT ON MEETING ON 16 FEBRUARY 2015
At the special Cabinet meeting of Harrow Council on 16 February the decision to extend Grimsdyke School was confirmed. There was vague guidance given by the education portfolio holder on possible measures to be included in the School Travel Plan but no further information was available to the Cabinet as requested by the call-in.
The meeting was attended by about 20 residents living close to the school and Councillor Susan Hall did her best to support the residents’ concern about traffic congestion. The next stage in the procedure for expansion of the school is stakeholder engagement in preparation of the planning application.
The Association will continue to monitor the progress and inform members of developments.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2015
As a result of the Councillors’ call-in which was heard at a council meeting on
Tuesday 3 February the proposal for the school expansion has been referred back to the Cabinet
for reconsideration. This is expected to be on Monday 16 February.
Councillor Susan Hall has sent the following information on the Council procedures:
‘I wanted to give you a bit more information on what happens next. The successful call-in means the original decision was effectively overturned, but this is not permanent. The decision is now sent back to Cabinet to reconsider, and all options are open to it: from continuing with the scheme exactly as
it is now, to amending it, delaying it or scrapping it entirely. A Cabinet meeting will take place in the next fortnight in order for this to happen.’
We will have to await the Cabinet decision but the Association maintains its position that the school should be expanded to give access to all children in the ward and an acceptable travel plan provided with the planning proposals.

UPDATE JANUARY 2015
The Council’s Cabinet approved the expansion of Grimsdyke
School at their meeting on 15 January. This was despite the traffic
concerns raised in the consultations and questions at a meeting held at the school. The
HEA will say involved in this matter as the further stages in the
expansion develop. We have been promised the involvement of interested
parties in the development of planning and development of the School
Travel Plan. We will keep members informed of developments as they progress.

LETTER FROM CHRIS MELLY, SENIOR PROFESSIONAL – SCHOOL ORGANISATION, HARROW COUNCIL TO HATCH END ASSOCIATION

Dear Julian Maw
Thank you for your letter dated 24 November 2014 to Johanna Morgan with the considerations and recommendation of The Hatch End Association about the statutory proposal to expand Grimsdyke School. I acknowledge receipt of your letter and confirm that it will be reported to elected Members when making the decision whether or not to expand Grimsdyke School. For your information – the following response has been emailed today to residents who emailed theSchoolreorganisation@harrow.gov.uk address with their representation about the statutory proposal to expand Grimsdyke School.

“Thank you for your emailed representation in response to the statutory proposal to expand Grimsdyke School.  I confirm that your representation will be reported to elected Members when making the decision whether or not to expand the school. A large number of emails were received and individual response to each is not practicable.  I hope this general response to the main points made in the emails will be helpful.
Consultation document
Many representations stated a consultation document had not been received.  The following is a summary of the consultation activity undertaken about the expansion proposal. Consultation about the proposed expansion was held from Tuesday 16 September 2014 to Monday 20 October 2014.  The consultation had been scheduled to close on Wednesday 15 October, but was extended until Monday 20 October at the request of the Hatch End Association and attendees at the open meeting to allow more time for responses to be made. Written information about the consultation was sent to all parents, staff and governors of the school.  Letters in specially designed envelopes were also distributed during week beginning 22 September 2014 to 350 households in the vicinity of the school.  This included all houses around the circumference of the school on Lyndon Avenue, Colburn Avenue and Sylvia Avenue, along with all houses which adjoin the route  from the school to Grimsdyke Road, along Colburn Avenue and Hillview Road. The consultation papers included an invitation to the open meeting for parents, staff and residents at the school on Tuesday 14 October at 6.30pm. which was attended by 80 people.  Direct invitations were sent to The Hatch End Association and the Hatch End Trade Association. Hatch End Ward Councillors were notified about the consultation and the distribution to residents. Statutory proposals to expand permanently Grimsdyke School were published on 3 November 2014 for a four week representation period. The public notice was displayed on the school gates, in local libraries and in the Harrow Times.  A visit was arranged to Grimsdyke School by both local newspapers (Harrow Times and Harrow Observer) who subsequently published articles raising awareness of the expansion plans.  These articles both quoted the school’s and the Council’s determination to tackle the traffic and parking issues raised at an early stage with residents.
Traffic congestion and anti-social driving behaviour
The majority of the representations refer to the existing traffic congestion and anti-social driving behaviour in the area of the school and object to the proposed expansion of Grimsdyke School on the basis of the increased traffic congestion issues that will result.  Reference is made to a number of issues, including: the need for traffic management and enforcement; safety of pedestrians; narrow roads; access via Hillview Road is a bottleneck; difficulty for emergency vehicles to access the area quickly at school times; the impact of charging in the car park behind the shops off Grimsdyke Road on parking in local roads through the day; congestion at the junction of Grimsdyke Road and Uxbridge Road; parents ignoring parking restrictions; parents blocking and reversing into driveways, parking in the pavement green areas and parking on the grass within the park. Comment was also made about the impact of new building at the school on neighbouring properties, the issue of construction traffic access and a suggestion to locate the school on two separate locations. The representations clearly set out a range of existing traffic issues in the area of Grimsdyke School and resident concerns that these issues will be exacerbated by the proposed expansion of Grimsdyke School.  The representations also include some helpful suggestions about possible mitigations for the problems that will be considered. The traffic congestion issues are recognised and are being addressed within the school expansion programme processes.

Schools are being expanded across Harrow to provide the additional school places close to where the children live.  This approach reduces the need for cars to be used to take children to and from school and reduces car use across the borough.  This is demonstrated at Grimsdyke School in that 90% of the September 2014 Reception intake of 90 children live within ¾ of a mile of the school.  Over two thirds live within ½ a mile of the school.  The scale of the school expansion programme is huge, with over half of Harrow’s primary schools with Reception intake expanded by September 2015 and more will be expanded in Phase 3 of the programme. Experience in expanding schools across Harrow has identified a number of tools and solutions which the Council and schools can deploy. Deploying these resources in the right way can contribute to a decline in traffic around expanded schools, even while extra students are added.

Transport Assessments are undertaken at all schools approved for expansion as part of the Planning process.  These Transport Assessments are carried out by independent specialist contractors and include surveys and observations of traffic behaviour in the area around the schools.  The outcomes and recommendations from the Transport Assessments are considered so plans can be put in place to address them.  The planning applications include the Transport Assessments and will be consulted upon fully in a separate process that includes opportunities to comment. Updated School Travel Plans are submitted as part of the planning application.  These travel plans can include a number of techniques for reducing car use and altering parent behaviour.  Grimsdyke School Governing Body has already tasked a committee with developing an updated School Travel Plan with officers from Harrow.  School Travel Plans are a powerful way to influence parental behaviour and have been proven to encourage walking to school and actually reduce car use. They are accredited by the Mayor of London, and other expansion schools in Harrow have achieved Gold accreditation, which signifies a decrease in car use of 6%or 90% of pupils travelling sustainably. It should be borne in mind that expansion schools only admit an additional Reception class each year so that the school fills incrementally over a 7 year period.  This gives time to work at addressing issues on a planned basis before the schools are fully expanded. Parking enforcement activity occurs at all schools.  Schools that are increasing pupil numbers receive additional attention, and are targeted for additional enforcement visits by two dedicated CCTV cars. Grimsdyke School is currently visited at least twice weekly by the CCTV cars.

If Grimsdyke School is approved for expansion, a planning application would be prepared and submitted for the additional accommodation and facilities needed at the school.  Distribution of consultation information on the expansion proposal has deliberately included local residents to bring the proposal to early attention in recognition of traffic congestion issues around schools at drop-off and collection times.  When design proposals have been developed there will be public engagement activity to help inform the final design proposal.  This includes a drop-in event for residents to see work in progress on issues including traffic and design and contribute thoughts and suggestions.  Architects, council officers and school representatives would be available at the event, including traffic and travel planning officers. Thank you for taking the time to write with your comments. We very much hope you will continue to be engaged with the expansion proposal and, should it proceed to the next stage, contribute further ideas to help us reduce traffic and anti-social behaviour in your area.”

FULL STATUTORY PROPOSAL

Harrow Council published its Full Statutory Proposal for the Expansion of Grimsdyke School on 3 November. The proposal is to expand the school by one form of entry or 30 places. Permanent expansion would be from September 2015. The admission number for the school at Reception would increase from 60 to become 90 places.

There is now a four-week representation period which ends on 1 December 2014. Any person may support, object to or make comments on the proposal and all responses will be reported to Harrow Council Cabinet at its meeting on 15 January 2015 when elected members will decide whether or not to approve the proposal. If you would like to support, object or make a comment, please write to:

Johanna Morgan, Education Professional Lead, Education Strategy Service, Harrow Council, Civic Centre, PO Box 22, Station Road, Harrow, HA1 2UW.

If you would like see the proposals in more detail and comments from the consultation process, log on to www.harrow.gov.uk/schoolexpansion and click on Grimsdyke.

 

CONSULTATION MEETING 14 OCTOBER 2014

The meeting was attended by about 70 people, 60/70% of whom were residents. It took the form of a presentation for half an hour followed by group discussions with collected post-it notes of individual comments.

The presentation by Harrow Council, with support from the headteacher and chairman of governors, reiterated the need for expansion as described in the Council papers. The head said that there would be an opportunity to improve the existing building under the expansion plans. It was emphasised that this was a consultation on the need for expansion. The results would be published on the Council’s website with a decision on whether to proceed and the issue of statutory proposals by 3 November for comment over four weeks with Cabinet approval by 15 January 2015. This would be followed by preparatory design engagement in preparation for a planning application which would include a Traffic and Parking survey, and a Travel Plan. It was hoped that building could start in the autumn of 2015 and the expansion be ready for the September 2016 term. There was no location given for the extension though a two-storey block at the back of the school seemed to be the favourite possibility. The site would be determined during the design engagement process.

The subject of my discussion group was traffic and damage done to pavement and resident property by vehicles transporting children. I believe the other four groups were similar. Though no travel plan was available, the governors indicated that it was a school concern and that drop off points with walking buses were being considered from The Avenue and Grimsdyke Road.

As a follow up, when I completed the consultation form for myself today I was disappointed that my reference was 22 which indicates little response from 420 pupil families and hundreds of adjacent residents. Remember the CPZ consultation and people’s disappointment due to lack of residents’ response. Please make a response ASAP to www.harrow.gov.uk/schoolexpansion. The response finishes online on 17October though HEA has got residents an extension until Tuesday 21 October which was confirmed at the meeting for both web and written responses on Grimsdyke School.

 Julian Maw

Click on the link below to see the HEA response to the Council regarding the Grimsdyke
School expansion.

HEA response Grimsdyke consult

2 thoughts on “Grimsdyke School: construction work

  1. Timothy Clifford

    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.

    Reply
  2. Alex Turner

    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.

    Reply

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