Work to turn Lanchester building, in West Herts College, into Watford Town Community Free School to begin

Watford Observer: On Thursday Watford Borough Council’s Development Control approved plans to convert the Lanchester building into the new school. On Thursday Watford Borough Council’s Development Control approved plans to convert the Lanchester building into the new school.

Work is now set to begin to get an old college building in central Watford ready to be a primary school and nursery in time for September.

West Herts Community Free School Trust has said following planning permission, which was granted on Thursday (January 30), it can start work to turn the Lanchester building in West Herts College, into the Watford Town Community Free School.

The school is set to take 60 new pupils in September as part of a programme of founding new schools and expanding existing ones to head off a looming admissions crisis.

The new school, off Hempstead Road, will also temporarily house 60 new pupils who were due to start at another new school off Ascot Road as the building work will not be completed for September.

This week, John Harris, chairman of West Herts Community Free School Trust said: "We are very pleased with the positive decision from the Development Control Committee. Local children will benefit from an outstanding education in this great building.

"We can now focus our efforts on preparation for opening in September 2014, working in partnership with parents and the local community."

On Thursday Watford Borough Council’s Development Control approved plans to convert the Lanchester building into the new school in the face of strong opposition to part of the proposals from people living nearby.

Scores of residents from the Cassiobury estate complained that plans to reopen a disused footpath from the site to Cassiobury Drive, saying it would create dangerous traffic problems as it would become the main access point.

However, the committee added a condition to planning permission stating the school could only use the path to take pupils to activities in Cassiobury Park.

Comments (12)

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10:27am Tue 4 Feb 14

Cuetip says...

The Hempstead Rd and nearby roundabout is becoming an absolute traffic bottle neck which could be risky for walking trains and young cyclists using the 60 bicycle racks. The creation of safe drop off points is a must in that very congested area. The previous plan to extend the journey along very busy roads using a back entrance lacked common sense.

I hope that safety considerations have been carefully considered for this car free school for parents coming from all over town. However the staff will have 44 car spaces - 35 of which will come from the already well used nearby Avenue car park as regulars will be asked to take a running jump.

The underlying reasons why this crisis in school places has occured needs to be urgently tackled like the elephant in the room
The Hempstead Rd and nearby roundabout is becoming an absolute traffic bottle neck which could be risky for walking trains and young cyclists using the 60 bicycle racks. The creation of safe drop off points is a must in that very congested area. The previous plan to extend the journey along very busy roads using a back entrance lacked common sense. I hope that safety considerations have been carefully considered for this car free school for parents coming from all over town. However the staff will have 44 car spaces - 35 of which will come from the already well used nearby Avenue car park as regulars will be asked to take a running jump. The underlying reasons why this crisis in school places has occured needs to be urgently tackled like the elephant in the room Cuetip
  • Score: 6

11:16am Tue 4 Feb 14

Felinefrenzi says...

Stop the building of new homes and flats until Watford's infrastructure catches up. This busy location is highly inappropriate, but the councils are so desperate for school places that inappropriate sites suddenly become acceptable, and to hell with the consequences.
Yes and then the next move is removing Green Belt status to build secondary schools at busy sites because that is the next problem.
Buy back and re-open Langlebury, and Little Furze Primary.
Stop the building of new homes and flats until Watford's infrastructure catches up. This busy location is highly inappropriate, but the councils are so desperate for school places that inappropriate sites suddenly become acceptable, and to hell with the consequences. Yes and then the next move is removing Green Belt status to build secondary schools at busy sites because that is the next problem. Buy back and re-open Langlebury, and Little Furze Primary. Felinefrenzi
  • Score: 5

1:05pm Tue 4 Feb 14

BrianUKIP says...

Cuetip wrote:
The Hempstead Rd and nearby roundabout is becoming an absolute traffic bottle neck which could be risky for walking trains and young cyclists using the 60 bicycle racks. The creation of safe drop off points is a must in that very congested area. The previous plan to extend the journey along very busy roads using a back entrance lacked common sense.

I hope that safety considerations have been carefully considered for this car free school for parents coming from all over town. However the staff will have 44 car spaces - 35 of which will come from the already well used nearby Avenue car park as regulars will be asked to take a running jump.

The underlying reasons why this crisis in school places has occured needs to be urgently tackled like the elephant in the room
Could I ask you to expand on your view that we have an elephant in the room
[quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: The Hempstead Rd and nearby roundabout is becoming an absolute traffic bottle neck which could be risky for walking trains and young cyclists using the 60 bicycle racks. The creation of safe drop off points is a must in that very congested area. The previous plan to extend the journey along very busy roads using a back entrance lacked common sense. I hope that safety considerations have been carefully considered for this car free school for parents coming from all over town. However the staff will have 44 car spaces - 35 of which will come from the already well used nearby Avenue car park as regulars will be asked to take a running jump. The underlying reasons why this crisis in school places has occured needs to be urgently tackled like the elephant in the room[/p][/quote]Could I ask you to expand on your view that we have an elephant in the room BrianUKIP
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

It is clear that this new school is going to cause traffic problems once it opens.

The LibDems sticking their heads in the sand over it will not make the problem go away. Shouldn't they instead work with local residents to find a proper solution rather than hoping parents will not use cars too much?

Dotty was a teacher, she knows how it works with parents and cars. To pretend the problem will not arise because people will walk to school is typical LibDem head-in-the-clouds thinking. It does no-one any favours and leaves local residents with a headache.
It is clear that this new school is going to cause traffic problems once it opens. The LibDems sticking their heads in the sand over it will not make the problem go away. Shouldn't they instead work with local residents to find a proper solution rather than hoping parents will not use cars too much? Dotty was a teacher, she knows how it works with parents and cars. To pretend the problem will not arise because people will walk to school is typical LibDem head-in-the-clouds thinking. It does no-one any favours and leaves local residents with a headache. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 2

4:07pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Cuetip says...

BrianUKIP Thanks for the question

Felinefrenzi knocked the nail on the head with the view he expressed.

In brief the elephant in the room is our ever expanding population growth for a town of only a few square miles. The jostle for a parking space is a regular experience in many streets made far worse as shown by such high density housing developments as with Rembrandt Hse at the very busy Hagden Lane / Whippendell Rd junction.

Watford is widely recognised as one of the most congested towns in England and the recorded population currently stands at over 90.000 and there are plans to pile thousands of more homes into the town with an infrastructure which was designed to cope with alot less.

Our key entry points eg Bushey Arches, the Town Hall round about and main roads eg the St Albans Rd, Ricky Rd, Hempstead Rd, regularly have traffic at a standstill.

For too long there has been a rather naive view that building 'affordable flats with no parking' on the assumption that young couples don't have kids or cars as there is public transport . Hence in recent years 90% of these high density housing 'units' have been flats which is clearly unsustainable. Don't forget the growing HMOs - houses of multiple occupancy which create a transitory neighbourhood.
BrianUKIP Thanks for the question Felinefrenzi knocked the nail on the head with the view he expressed. In brief the elephant in the room is our ever expanding population growth for a town of only a few square miles. The jostle for a parking space is a regular experience in many streets made far worse as shown by such high density housing developments as with Rembrandt Hse at the very busy Hagden Lane / Whippendell Rd junction. Watford is widely recognised as one of the most congested towns in England and the recorded population currently stands at over 90.000 and there are plans to pile thousands of more homes into the town with an infrastructure which was designed to cope with alot less. Our key entry points eg Bushey Arches, the Town Hall round about and main roads eg the St Albans Rd, Ricky Rd, Hempstead Rd, regularly have traffic at a standstill. For too long there has been a rather naive view that building 'affordable flats with no parking' on the assumption that young couples don't have kids or cars as there is public transport . Hence in recent years 90% of these high density housing 'units' have been flats which is clearly unsustainable. Don't forget the growing HMOs - houses of multiple occupancy which create a transitory neighbourhood. Cuetip
  • Score: 6

4:24pm Tue 4 Feb 14

BrianUKIP says...

Cuetip wrote:
BrianUKIP Thanks for the question

Felinefrenzi knocked the nail on the head with the view he expressed.

In brief the elephant in the room is our ever expanding population growth for a town of only a few square miles. The jostle for a parking space is a regular experience in many streets made far worse as shown by such high density housing developments as with Rembrandt Hse at the very busy Hagden Lane / Whippendell Rd junction.

Watford is widely recognised as one of the most congested towns in England and the recorded population currently stands at over 90.000 and there are plans to pile thousands of more homes into the town with an infrastructure which was designed to cope with alot less.

Our key entry points eg Bushey Arches, the Town Hall round about and main roads eg the St Albans Rd, Ricky Rd, Hempstead Rd, regularly have traffic at a standstill.

For too long there has been a rather naive view that building 'affordable flats with no parking' on the assumption that young couples don't have kids or cars as there is public transport . Hence in recent years 90% of these high density housing 'units' have been flats which is clearly unsustainable. Don't forget the growing HMOs - houses of multiple occupancy which create a transitory neighbourhood.
But how do you square the circle with a coalition hell bent on streamlining the planning process to allow developers the ability to build more and more?

Labours answer is to build more than the coalition.

So the 3 main parties all want to build more, so Cuetip what’s your answer?

Might it be vote UKIP?
[quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: BrianUKIP Thanks for the question Felinefrenzi knocked the nail on the head with the view he expressed. In brief the elephant in the room is our ever expanding population growth for a town of only a few square miles. The jostle for a parking space is a regular experience in many streets made far worse as shown by such high density housing developments as with Rembrandt Hse at the very busy Hagden Lane / Whippendell Rd junction. Watford is widely recognised as one of the most congested towns in England and the recorded population currently stands at over 90.000 and there are plans to pile thousands of more homes into the town with an infrastructure which was designed to cope with alot less. Our key entry points eg Bushey Arches, the Town Hall round about and main roads eg the St Albans Rd, Ricky Rd, Hempstead Rd, regularly have traffic at a standstill. For too long there has been a rather naive view that building 'affordable flats with no parking' on the assumption that young couples don't have kids or cars as there is public transport . Hence in recent years 90% of these high density housing 'units' have been flats which is clearly unsustainable. Don't forget the growing HMOs - houses of multiple occupancy which create a transitory neighbourhood.[/p][/quote]But how do you square the circle with a coalition hell bent on streamlining the planning process to allow developers the ability to build more and more? Labours answer is to build more than the coalition. So the 3 main parties all want to build more, so Cuetip what’s your answer? Might it be vote UKIP? BrianUKIP
  • Score: -1

5:11pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Felinefrenzi says...

Phil, the school are saying they will have a green transport policy 'encouraging' walking only, and planners are basing their plans on a 100% walk to school uptake. Clearly not living in the real world.. and nine parking spaces for teachers, support staff and visitors, clearly the planners are not planning effectively, and seems to be fire fighting already...reacting to problems as residents identify them !!!!!
Phil, the school are saying they will have a green transport policy 'encouraging' walking only, and planners are basing their plans on a 100% walk to school uptake. Clearly not living in the real world.. and nine parking spaces for teachers, support staff and visitors, clearly the planners are not planning effectively, and seems to be fire fighting already...reacting to problems as residents identify them !!!!! Felinefrenzi
  • Score: 1

8:04pm Tue 4 Feb 14

Paul Gadd says...

Round of applause for Watford BC and its planners........they continue to draw in green biro over a big map of the town, in the daft belief people don't use cars in this day and age
Round of applause for Watford BC and its planners........they continue to draw in green biro over a big map of the town, in the daft belief people don't use cars in this day and age Paul Gadd
  • Score: 1

9:48am Wed 5 Feb 14

Cuetip says...

Paul Gadd wrote:
Round of applause for Watford BC and its planners........they continue to draw in green biro over a big map of the town, in the daft belief people don't use cars in this day and age
BrianUKIP
House building, the NHS, raising education standards should never be done in isolation. Did the massive upsurge in education pass rates create a more employable workforce? Likewise, there is no evidence that the Watford ‘waiting lists’ for homes has fallen dramatically due to increased ‘house’ building in recent years.

Just simply building more so called ‘affordable homes’ without some real joined up thinking on the pressure it creates in other areas shows a high degree of ignorance of how society needs to function efficiently. You can’t simply pack people in like sardines especially as land is a finite resource and ignore the knock on pressures.

Simply put, the more we concrete and ignore water tables / drainage systems, the more we risk all sorts of visible spillovers as with Lower High Street.

If anything, our attempts to increase supply seem to act as a magnet to the demand pressures and these socio economic forces that need to be brought under the microscope and not simply ignored.

No doubt this subject has weighed heavily on your mind as with most people and you have drawn your own conclusions.
[quote][p][bold]Paul Gadd[/bold] wrote: Round of applause for Watford BC and its planners........they continue to draw in green biro over a big map of the town, in the daft belief people don't use cars in this day and age[/p][/quote]BrianUKIP House building, the NHS, raising education standards should never be done in isolation. Did the massive upsurge in education pass rates create a more employable workforce? Likewise, there is no evidence that the Watford ‘waiting lists’ for homes has fallen dramatically due to increased ‘house’ building in recent years. Just simply building more so called ‘affordable homes’ without some real joined up thinking on the pressure it creates in other areas shows a high degree of ignorance of how society needs to function efficiently. You can’t simply pack people in like sardines especially as land is a finite resource and ignore the knock on pressures. Simply put, the more we concrete and ignore water tables / drainage systems, the more we risk all sorts of visible spillovers as with Lower High Street. If anything, our attempts to increase supply seem to act as a magnet to the demand pressures and these socio economic forces that need to be brought under the microscope and not simply ignored. No doubt this subject has weighed heavily on your mind as with most people and you have drawn your own conclusions. Cuetip
  • Score: 2

11:34am Wed 5 Feb 14

Angry of Tunbridge Wells says...

Dosn't this point out the total lunacy of the anarchic Free Schools movement. Yes we need more school places (to replace the ones we lost in the Herts school closing program) but they need careful planning. Capatin Gove will have us on the rocks unless we mutiny.
Dosn't this point out the total lunacy of the anarchic Free Schools movement. Yes we need more school places (to replace the ones we lost in the Herts school closing program) but they need careful planning. Capatin Gove will have us on the rocks unless we mutiny. Angry of Tunbridge Wells
  • Score: 3

3:50pm Wed 5 Feb 14

Jamgly says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
It is clear that this new school is going to cause traffic problems once it opens.

The LibDems sticking their heads in the sand over it will not make the problem go away. Shouldn't they instead work with local residents to find a proper solution rather than hoping parents will not use cars too much?

Dotty was a teacher, she knows how it works with parents and cars. To pretend the problem will not arise because people will walk to school is typical LibDem head-in-the-clouds thinking. It does no-one any favours and leaves local residents with a headache.
Dear Mr Cox (UKIP),

Before you go on a one man crusade against the Lib Dems on the issue, perhaps read that Richard Harrington is very much for the idea and has been championing the fact the school will be 'car free'.

If anybody is deluded on the issue it's him, and his party, for allowing these poorly planned, pointless vanity schools. 60 pupils is just enough to cause traffic chaos, without having any real effect on the issue of lack of school places.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: It is clear that this new school is going to cause traffic problems once it opens. The LibDems sticking their heads in the sand over it will not make the problem go away. Shouldn't they instead work with local residents to find a proper solution rather than hoping parents will not use cars too much? Dotty was a teacher, she knows how it works with parents and cars. To pretend the problem will not arise because people will walk to school is typical LibDem head-in-the-clouds thinking. It does no-one any favours and leaves local residents with a headache.[/p][/quote]Dear Mr Cox (UKIP), Before you go on a one man crusade against the Lib Dems on the issue, perhaps read that Richard Harrington is very much for the idea and has been championing the fact the school will be 'car free'. If anybody is deluded on the issue it's him, and his party, for allowing these poorly planned, pointless vanity schools. 60 pupils is just enough to cause traffic chaos, without having any real effect on the issue of lack of school places. Jamgly
  • Score: 3

7:01pm Sun 9 Feb 14

Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford says...

Jamgly wrote:
Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
It is clear that this new school is going to cause traffic problems once it opens.

The LibDems sticking their heads in the sand over it will not make the problem go away. Shouldn't they instead work with local residents to find a proper solution rather than hoping parents will not use cars too much?

Dotty was a teacher, she knows how it works with parents and cars. To pretend the problem will not arise because people will walk to school is typical LibDem head-in-the-clouds thinking. It does no-one any favours and leaves local residents with a headache.
Dear Mr Cox (UKIP),

Before you go on a one man crusade against the Lib Dems on the issue, perhaps read that Richard Harrington is very much for the idea and has been championing the fact the school will be 'car free'.

If anybody is deluded on the issue it's him, and his party, for allowing these poorly planned, pointless vanity schools. 60 pupils is just enough to cause traffic chaos, without having any real effect on the issue of lack of school places.
Just because the MP has put his head in the sand over this does not justify the Mayor doing the same thing.

If what you say is correct, and I have no reason to doubt what you say, then in my opinion they are just as bad as each other over this traffic issue relating to this school.

There is no easy answer to school access here, but surely the first step in resolving this issue is to accept what the problem is and that it is real - parents will use cars. Only then can all parties, residents included, get together to hammer out the best solution.

The fact that both political parties spearheading this school (RH and DT) seemingly refuse to acknowledge that basic fact does not fill me with hope for a sensible resolution of the issue.

"Car free schools". Who do they think they are kidding?
[quote][p][bold]Jamgly[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: It is clear that this new school is going to cause traffic problems once it opens. The LibDems sticking their heads in the sand over it will not make the problem go away. Shouldn't they instead work with local residents to find a proper solution rather than hoping parents will not use cars too much? Dotty was a teacher, she knows how it works with parents and cars. To pretend the problem will not arise because people will walk to school is typical LibDem head-in-the-clouds thinking. It does no-one any favours and leaves local residents with a headache.[/p][/quote]Dear Mr Cox (UKIP), Before you go on a one man crusade against the Lib Dems on the issue, perhaps read that Richard Harrington is very much for the idea and has been championing the fact the school will be 'car free'. If anybody is deluded on the issue it's him, and his party, for allowing these poorly planned, pointless vanity schools. 60 pupils is just enough to cause traffic chaos, without having any real effect on the issue of lack of school places.[/p][/quote]Just because the MP has put his head in the sand over this does not justify the Mayor doing the same thing. If what you say is correct, and I have no reason to doubt what you say, then in my opinion they are just as bad as each other over this traffic issue relating to this school. There is no easy answer to school access here, but surely the first step in resolving this issue is to accept what the problem is and that it is real - parents will use cars. Only then can all parties, residents included, get together to hammer out the best solution. The fact that both political parties spearheading this school (RH and DT) seemingly refuse to acknowledge that basic fact does not fill me with hope for a sensible resolution of the issue. "Car free schools". Who do they think they are kidding? Phil Cox - UKIP Mayoral candidate for Watford
  • Score: -1

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