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NewsWed, 26th June 2019

News  »  Two schools Weavering

   Two schools Weavering    April 15, 2019

KCC has not objected to the planning application on highway grounds and this leaves residents, Borough Councillors and the parish council in an extremely difficult position.  The KCC response is on the MBC website and also attached to this application.  KCC’s no objection response is subject to improvements to the highway conditions, but the killer blow is the statement at the paragraph titled Access Strategy. As residents are aware KCC is the legal consultee on highway issues and its decision, in planning issues, carry’s an awful lot of weight.

Borough Councillors Bob and Wendy Hinder had a meeting on Friday 12th with Roger Gough (KCC Cabinet Member for Education) and his deputy Sheilina Prendergast. Helen Whately was represented by her PA and offIcers  from the KCC Education Department were also present.  Cllrs Bob and Wendy Hinder were supported by Cllr Dennis Spooner Borough Councillor for Bearsted.

The Borough Councillors maintain their objection to the site and serious issues were raised concerning the position of the two schools at Popes Field.  They have asked the parish council to assure residents that they “would continue to fight this inappropriate development on behalf of their residents in support of their concerns and objections”.

At the meeting the Borough Councillors were given a presentation regarding future school places need and KCC was quick to clarify that these schools were presented to it as part of the Government’s Free School Programmed – Wave and so KCC is only a consultee. The Borough Cllrs asked that two of the slides be shared with residents (attached).

The Parish Council’s Environment Committee will now be reviewing the situation and deciding what further action needs to taken.  Issues that are being looked at are:

  • The need for a further letter to MBC Planning clearly stating/confirming that there must be a clear condition that no pedestrian access from the school site onto Bearsted Road will be allowed in the future.
  • A letter to KCC Highways to see if its response can be amended to include a condition to state that there must never be any pedestrian access from the school onto Bearsted Road.
  • Investigation into the issue of PRoW KH47 across Weavering Heath. Impact on Grove Green if it is made all weather as this may attract parking onto Shepherd’s Gate Drive. Investigate position of MBC as it owns Weavering Heath.
  • Further investigation into the Air Quality issue and whether further arguments need to be supplied to MBC as KCC’s response did pick up that parents who could not get into the school car park would wait on Gidds Pond Way.
  • Possible restrictions needed on the construction work times due to impact on area in rush hour and disturbance to local residents.
  • What is the current situation regarding the Local Nature Reserve planning application.

The Parish Council is sorry as it knows that the latest information is not what the vast majority of residents wanted to hear. Councillors will also be very disappointed that KCC did not object as members have worked tirelessly to investigate and present what were considered to be valid and compelling arguments to show that the site was unsustainable and the schools were in the wrong location. Unfortunately KCC Highways and Education Departments took a different view. The MBC Planning Officer will now have to consider allthe responses and will come up with a recommendation on whether to permit or refuse the application, this recommendation has to go to the MBC Planning Committee. It is currently not clear when this will be but both Borough Councillors have confirmed that they plan to speak against the application as will a representative of the Parish Council. The MBC meeting will be open to the public and one representative of the public can also speak to object to the application.

The Parish Council will continue to keep residents updated as it receives more information.






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