OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

INTRODUCTION
(While this is of particular interest to people on Gresley Road,  
Ashmount Road, and Stanhope Road, there may be some impact on Hornsey  
lane, and in the Whitehall Park area, including Dresden Road)
When Ashmount School was in operation on Hornsey Lane  the vast  
majority of children lived within easy walking distance.   Even so a  
small minority of parents did use cars despite strenious efforts   
made to discourage car use.  Even these small numbers could, from  
time to time, cause congestion in a way which  inconvenienced  
residents, particularly  on Ashmount Road near the school. This was  
often the subject of complaints to the school and discussed at   
Governing Body meetings. The return of a school to that site could be  
expected to   raise the possibility of a return of traffic problems.   
The proposers of Whitehall Park School have recently begun the  
process of applying for the first of two  planning permissions they  
will need to reinstate a school on the old Ashmount site. The traffic  
impact is one of the matters they are required to address in any  
application for planning permission. Which they have done. It is  
their own prediction of traffic problems with which I am concerned,  
and in which my fellow residents may be interested.
The planning   application is for  permission to put temporary  
classrooms on the site until the old Ashmount School building is  
replaced with a new one. (The second planning application, to be made  
"in the autumn" will be for the work to replace the old Ashmount  
building,  which it is anticipated will be for a full demolish and  
rebuild). If you want to look at the full planning application  
documents are  on the Council's website.  It is  planning application  
P2014/1754/FUL
WHY, BASED ON INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY BELLEVUE LTD, THE NEW SCHOOL  
MAY CREATE TRAFFIC PROBLEMS
The traffic issue  issue is addressed by the applicants in two  
documents. A Transport statement and a Travel plan.
The Transport Statement lists on page 9 the no less than 12 separate  
postcodes from which  applications to the school had been received.  
They concluded:
"Some of these postcode areas are over 10km from the school site,  
which is considerably further than may be expected for the typical  
journey to school area for a primary school. Pupils travelling longer  
distances to primary school may be less likely to use active modes of  
transport i.e. cycling, walking and scooters and more likely to be  
transported by car, ..."
The Travel plan includes  a map, which appears to be based on the  
same  information.
Clearly if the pattern of recruitment to this school  so different  
to  Ashmount,   includes people as far away as Tottenham, and hardly  
any children within walking distance, the impact of traffic on  the  
Whitehall Park area , and, in particular on  the amenity of people on  
Ashmount Road and Gresley Road  (always noticeable when Ashmount was   
there), could be significant.  This would be due to a greater  
propensity to car use by pupils coming much longer distances to a  
site poorly served by public transport.
MORE INFORMATION NEEDED
When I realised this I wrote to Islington planning to ask the  
planning committee to take this issue into account. (Which they might  
be able to do by adding planning conditions) I highlighted one  
comment made by Whitehall Park School about the problem:
"however without more detailed information on pupils' home postcodes  
and numbers the effect on use of different modes of transport is  
difficult to forecast."
And noted that the information in the planning application was quite  
old, the application submitted in May and that there will, no doubt  
have been changes to the information. Especially as due to local  
recruitment difficulties Whitehall Park have been actively recruiting  
pupils from the south of Islington, Muswell Hill, Barnet and  
Tottenham. (And the local recruitment difficulties have been  
increased as people in the N19 area who were not originally offered  
the school they wanted on the 15 April, offer day, have had  
subsequent, better offers)
So I wrote to the planning committee and said:
"It seems entirely reasonable that the committee would expect to get  
the most up to date information possible. Given that the school will  
need to monitor admissions carefully, and has already announced a  
programme of home visits to the home addresses of accepting children,  
they must be keeping their records updated on a daily basis. Be that  
as it may  the committee should ask for a breakdown of application  
information dated as close to the planning meeting as practicable (a  
week before?). It might also be considered approriate to have as a  
planning condition, if the application granted, which requires  
regular updating on the progress of admissions.
The information needed would be the number of applications actually  
accepted, and not just made, by postcode, and the number of  
outstanding offers,  that is offers made for which the deadline for  
responding has not passed, but, at least so far, have not been  
accepted. The figures would also take account of those who, having  
been offered a place, and accepted it, have now relinquished that  
offer in favour of a preferred place at another school. Care has to  
be taken on this, as in this year Whitehall Park School is not part  
of the London Pan Admissions system, is taking applications directly,  
and it is entirely possible therefore for a parent to have two  
offers, one for Whitehall Park and one for another school.  It would  
also be helpful as well as these figures to have an updated map. As  
the school needs to have this information at its finger tips, it is  
not burdensome to ask for it.
Without this information it is impossible, as the Traffic Statement  
concedes, to get a clear idea of the likely impact on traffic."
Now obviously I am only one person. If like me, you are concerned at  
a possible build up of traffic twice a day during school term, it  
would be helpful if you were to write to Islington planning and raise  
your concerns. this would make it more likely that they would add  
planning conditions that would help.
Although the official date for objections to be in by has expired,  
Islington Planning will accept comments up to the actual decision  
day, so if you are prompt and send an email to :
that would help.
Also copy your emails to our councillors:
(Of the three councillors, all Labour now,  Dave Poyser is the  
councillor whose surgery, at Hornsey lane Community Centre, is in our  
area.)
Regards
David Barry
Dresden Road, N19.

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