Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Set back for new Reach Free School in Tolpits Lane as officials recommend refusal
A proposed new secondary school has suffered a set back after it was recommended for refusal by council planning chiefs less than a month before it is due to open.
The Reach Free School is due to open to 120 Year 7 pupils in September and has permission to use an office block in Tolpits Lane for a year before this application kicks in.
But an application for a change of the use of the building for years two and three looks set to be turned down after planning officers at Three Rivers District Council were not satisfied with proposed travel arrangements.
District councillors have the power to ignore the officers’ recommendations when they make a decision at the authority’s planning committee meeting on Thursday evening (August 15) and members of the public can register argue the case for or against the plan.
School bosses have secured funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to open and are hoping to use the converted office building for three years before moving to a purpose-built school in the WD3 postcode.
Principal Designate Richard Booth said: "The application is for years two and three, we have permitted development rights and will open in September.
"Our consultants are working with Hertfordshire Highways, we are looking into their concerns to see whether we can change their minds."
Hertfordshire Highways criticised the travel plan, saying: "The details presented in the travel plan are not robust and do not adequately demonstrate how sustainable travel will be promoted.
"It is anticipated that traffic generated by the development will increase above the level predicted in the plan.
"This will result in local traffic congestion, the interference of the free flow of traffic on the adjacent highway network and will be detrimental to highway safety.
"The proposed development is therefore considered to be contrary to Hertfordshire County Council’s transport policies."
A message on the school’s website regarding potential traffic problems says: "Traffic surveys form part of the planning for both the temporary and permanent sites.
"For the temporary site, we anticipate many pupils will utilise our subsidised bus service, thus impacting less on the traffic in the area."
Comments are closed on this article.