Planners told to go back to drawing board over Bushey Mead School expansion proposals

Residents Adele Taylor, Katie Smith, Granville Taylor with their Bushey Mead School petition

Residents Adele Taylor, Katie Smith, Granville Taylor with their Bushey Mead School petition

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

"Shocked and horrified" residents fighting the proposed expansion of a Bushey school have told planners to go back the the drawing board. 

Katie Smith, Adele Taylor and Granville Taylor, all residents of Coldharbour Lane, have started a petition against Bushey Meads School’s expansion plans after concerns about how close the new building will be to edge of the road.

The plans include provisions for ten additional classrooms, with six of these set to be at the front of the site. The other four classrooms will be at the back of the school. 

Katie Smith said: "We were quite shocked and horrified that it was a two storey building right at the front of the school, right on the school boundary and the tall poplar trees outside the front of the school would have to be cut down."

However, in a document published by the school for a consultation evening held on Thursday, July 17, the school said: "The proposal will support an increase in the size of this school by one form of entry.

"This means the school will have the capacity to admit 200 students in September 2015 and in each subsequent year thereafter, making it a seven form entry school. This will result in an additional 150 students over a five year period.

"The school does not currently have enough classrooms to accommodate the extra students."

Hertfordshire County Council asked Bushey Meads School to expand to help address the shortfall in school places in the area.

The full time mum, who looks after her two step-children, Harvey, aged 17 and Charlotte, 15, and daughter Zoe, aged 5, hopes that the petition will force the school to change its plans. 

She added: "We want the school to revise its plans and work with neighbours and residents to get something that is acceptable to both parties.

"For some of my neighbours, this new two storey block will be opposite their house. There will be students looking straight out the windows into their bedrooms.

"I am hoping that they can. I am heartened by the number of people who have come forward and shown support. We are just trying to do what we can. Not many people attended the meeting, so we are trying to raise awareness in the local vicinity."

Hilary Morawska, acting teacher at Bushey Meads School in a statement, said: "Following a request from Hertfordshire County Council for Bushey Meads to support the increasing population in the local area, the school is delighted to be in the process of submitting a planning application to enable the expansion of Bushey Meads School, by one form of entry.

"As part of the planning application and to ensure stakeholders had access to the drawings, county officials and architects a public consultation evening was held, at the school, in July. Thereafter, a platform for responses to the submission was provided within the school's website enabling sufficient time, before submission, for comments to be logged. 

"The submission date to planning is expected to be at the end of August or early September.  As always, both Hertfordshire County Council and Bushey Meads School will continue to work closely with its neighbours and stakeholders during this exciting time.  In planning the expansion we have complied with recommendations to increase on site parking and have addressed environmental responsibilities."

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