Agenda item

14/01060/R3FUL - Thorpe Primary School, Atherstone Avenue, Netherton, Peterborough


The planning application was for the partial infill of the existing courtyard at Thorpe Primary School, Artherstone Avenue and the single storey rear extension and erection of a single storey teaching block. Associated alterations to the car park at the front of the site were also applied for, with an extension of the car park to the rear.


The main considerations were:

·         Principle of Development

·         Highways Impacts and Car Parking

·         Design and Layout

·         Landscape Impacts

·         Ecological Issues

·         Construction Management

·         Other Matters


It was officer’s recommendation that planning permission be granted, subject to the conditions set out in the report.


The Head of Development and Construction provided an overview of the application and raised the following key points:

·         The application had been deferred from a previous meeting of the Committee in order to consider impact on parking and congestion.

·         Four options had been outlined to mitigate any highways impact. Options C and D involved the loss of playing field areas and were not workable for the school. These options were unlikely to attract support from Sport England.

·         Option A provided a layby on Atherstone Avenue with space for two vehicles. As this option was on street and would have only a small impact, it was considered unsuitable.

·         Option B was recommended to the Committee. This provided a drop off area in the front car park with separate entryway and exitway.

·         As the expansion of the school would be phased, it was proposed that the need for a drop of provision be monitored at each phase.

·         A base line survey of traffic levels would be undertaken before and expansion occurred. After each expansion phase a further survey would take place to establish if any increase in traffic had resulted. Only if there was a significant increase, the drop off scheme would be implemented.

·         If the entire expansion was completed without a significant increase in traffic, the drop off scheme would not be actioned.


Councillor Fitzgerald, Ward Councillor, addressed the Committee and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         The Councillor had met with school parties.

·         The increase in pupil numbers would be phased over several years.

·         The options put forward to Committee show that further thought had been given to the highways impact of the proposals.

·         The options put forward represent a compromise.

·         If the area at the front of the school was needed it could be used, if the survey highlighted a more significant increase in traffic than expected.

·         Councillor Fitzgerald was reluctant to see the loss of a sporting site.


Peter Flewers addressed the Committee in objection to the application and responded to questions from Members. In summary the key points highlighted included:

·         Even if the increase in pupil numbers was phased, the traffic would still get worse.

·         Options A and B would provide insufficient mitigation.

·         If option D was not possible, option C would be preferable.

·         Attention was drawn to a traffic incident which had occurred in the area which had resulted in a child being knocked down and suffering from permanent memory loss.

·         Mr Flewers had consulted 40 people, all of which objected to the proposals on the grounds of safety, environment and community.

·         Cars parking on roads and drives would break up communities.

·         The construction traffic would cause a significant amount of congestion. The road proposed for construction traffic use was far too narrow.

·         If the application was approved local residents would have a deep lack of faith in the Council, who had disregarded the safety of children.


The Senior Engineer (Development) clarified that although it was anticipated that an increase in traffic would occur with the proposal, it was not expected that this would result in an increase in accidents. Those travelling by car would spread out over the area and walk in. The suggested drop off area may increase traffic flow problems by attracting people to drive closer to the school. In response to a question from Committee the Senior Engineer (Development) assured Members that work would be undertaken with the school and Ward Councillor to provide a travel plan.


The Committee discussed the consideration that had now been given to the highway implications of the proposal. It was considered that option B would provide sufficient mitigation, although some Members suggested that traffic problems would still result.


A motion was proposed and seconded to agree that permission be granted, as per officer recommendation, subject to the conditions set out in the report along with the inclusion of additional condition 18 allowing for the implementation of Option B should traffic monitoring establish a significant increase in congestion as a result of the expansion.


RESOLVED: (eight voted in favour, two voted against) that planning permission is GRANTED subject to the conditions set out in the reports along with the inclusion of additional condition 18 allowing for the implementation of Option B should traffic monitoring establish a significant increase in congestion as a result of the expansion.


Reasons for the decision


Subject to the imposition of the attached conditions, the proposal was acceptable having been assessed in the light of all material considerations, including weighting against relevant policies of the development plan and specifically:


·         The development would help address the shortage of school places within the West Planning Area and the expansion of schools was supported by the National Planning Policy Framework. No objection to the proposal had been received from Sport England subject to the attached conditions. The principle of development was, therefore, considered to be acceptable.


·         The development would result in additional traffic on the local highway network. This impact could be partly mitigated by a Parking Management Plan and Travel Plan in accordance with policy CS14 of the adopted Core Strategy. There would, however, be an impact on the local network. This impact had to be balanced with the need to provide additional school places in the local area, which in this instance was considered to outweigh the potential highway congestion particularly as there were no highway safety concerns. Additional car and cycle parking would be provided in accordance with policy PP13 of the adopted Planning Policies DPD.


·         The design of the proposed extensions was considered to be acceptable, and there would not be any unacceptable adverse impact upon neighbour amenity. The proposal therefore accorded with policy CS16 of the adopted Core Strategy and policies PP2 and PP3 of the adopted Planning Policies DPD.


·         The tree removals proposed by this application were considered to be acceptable in light of the condition of the trees and their limited amenity value. Neither would any significant ecological impacts result. Subject to conditions therefore, the proposal was, therefore, considered to comply with policy PP16 of the adopted Planning Policies DPD.


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