title="Boxley Parish Council in Kent">

NewsSun, 16th December 2018

News  »  Proposed two schools at land by Pope's Wood

   Proposed two schools at land by Pope's Wood    December 6, 2018
Proposed two schools at land by Pope's Wood
The Parish Council has released the following to the press and the Chairman has asked that it be circulated to the community.
A presentation on the two schools proposed for land adjacent to Pope’s Wood Bearsted Road Weavering was given to Boxley Parish Council on 3 December and residents attending the meeting made their strongly held views known to councillors and also to the applicant.  Chairman Bob Hinder said “the parish council welcomed the presentation and the applicant left knowing that, in no uncertain terms, residents were not happy with the prospect of more traffic, more congestion but equally were extremely unhappy that the safety of children appeared not to be paramount in the decision to use this site”. 
Councillors and residents were impressed with the facilities that were being proposed for the two schools (one a SEN school) however with the site entrance being on an extremely busy unlit lit road and accommodating, in a few years, 540 pupils - the additional traffic and road safety issues made the proposed location unacceptable.
A representative of the Department of Education Melanie Barnham said that there was an urgent need for schools to serve Maidstone and this was the only site available and she acknowledged that it wasn’t ideal. Later in the meeting it was pointed out to her that the 1,700 residential development proposed for Detling Hill included a primary school and that application had already been submitted but she was unable to comment on this proposal.
The applicant proposes to widen footways adjacent to the site, including the one outside Gidds Pond Cottages, to allow better pedestrian access.  However many at the meeting strongly doubted the applicant’s belief that some parents or carers would walk children to the primary school from Bearsted, a trip that would involve crossing the busy unlit roads of Ware Street and Bearsted Road at various points as existing footways were staggered. A speed limit of 30mph would be imposed but the line of parked cars outside Gidds Pond Cottages, which are regularly damaged by passing cars, will be pushed a further half metre into the road with the likelihood that there will be an increase in the current damage to residents’ cars caused by other road users trying to squeeze through the narrowed area and would also lead to larger tail backs. 
Many had hoped that the new primary and special educational needs (SEN) schools would be linked to the internal KMC road system but the applicant said that this was not possible.
85 main car park spaces and 35 pick-up and dropping off slots for cars and mini-buses will be provided on site with many of the 120 SEN students being picked up by minibus. Start times for the schools will be staggered to minimise congestion and the applicant expected many of the primary school children to be quickly dropped off by parents/carers choosing to use their private vehicles.  Cllr Vic Davies challenged this expectation stating that parents at the local St John’s School in Provender Way often arrived 30 minutes before drop off and pick up times and the proposed site could in no way cope with this type and amount of parking.
It is understood that the planning application is due to be submitted to MBC by the end of December.
Cllr Bob Hinder says “nobody is disputing the need for more schools and this isn’t a case of “not in my back yard”. Three schools already exist in the Grove Green area with a fourth being built now so everyone knows what traffic problems a school brings.  Even the applicant had to admit that there are real local traffic problems and this additional traffic hasn’t been considered in the proposed improvements at junction 7 and KIMS roundabout.”
Further information can be found at  www.bearstedandsnowfieldsplans.co.uk


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