As part of all Planning Applications to East Devon District Council I am consulted as our Ward Member and invited to comment on the application. This application has of particular interest to Trinity residents and whilst my comments, along with other representation are published on the East Devon District Council I have published them additionally here.
Full details of the planning application can be accessed on the EDDC Website by clicking here.
“Ward Member Preliminary Comments, Application ref 12/2399/MOUT:
The existing Mrs Ethelstons school building has served generations of village children well, but the restricted plot size, location, structure and age of the building mean that it is not able to meet current standards for primary education, nor is there any realistic possibility that future standards can be met on the current site.
Uplyme Parish Plan developed in 2005/6, favoured the development of a new school, on the fields adjacent to the Village Hall by almost 4:1. The building of a new school did not progress at this time.
The current application seeks agreement in principle to a new school on a central site, which will secure the future of Primary Education for the children of Uplyme and surrounding villages. The proposal is for a modest increase in size over current roll, but will allow education in single year group classes throughout the school.
Recent public consultation on this outline application in September 2012 , supported with illustrative building positions and scale, produced overwhelming support for the project.
This site is within the East Devon AONB. Natural England have confirmed that they “have no comment to make as they do not believe this development is likely to impact on the purposes of designation of the East Devon AONB.”
The site was also subject to a sequential test, which confirmed it as the most appropriate, available site for this essential development.
Individual representations have highlighted concern with potential flood issues and traffic implications. It is important that we consider these important issues properly and objectively.
Flooding Concerns :
Flood concerns are topical and as a consequence of recent events in Uplyme are at the top of our minds.
The application is supported by a comprehensive Flood Risk Assessment, the conclusions of which are in line with informal discussions I held with the Environment Agency in the early stage of the project. The Environment Agency “have no objection to the proposed development” subject to a condition which I agree as appropriate to the proposed development of a new school on this site. Further mitigation measures are included in the scheme to ensure that any possibility of increased flooding elsewhere is prevented.
Highway Concerns :
I note that County Highway Authority views have not yet been received, but have considered the concerns expressed in individual representations:
From a layman’s point of view, I believe that the proposed location will be massively superior to the current site. Existing and additional parking and drop-off facilities will mean children and parents will no longer need to cross Lyme Road to walk up to the current site in the morning and evening. Service vehicles will similarly be able to access the site from Lyme Road, the main route through the village.
Further traffic benefits I expect to include a material reduction of traffic on Cooksmead and Church Lane. Parking demand on these roads will also be reduced, as on Ethelstons Close which is adjacent to the current school site. The difficult turning arrangements outside the current school will be consigned to history. The ease of disabled access to the site and it’s facilities can be brought up to modern standards.
The proposal is for a modest increase in scale, which I do not believe will result in a disproportionate increase in vehicle movement on and off the school site. Visibility is generally good from the proposed entrance in both directions, although a modest reduction in the hedge line, and a relocation of a telegraph pole, to the north of the entrance may be advantageous.
A replacement school is essential to safeguard the primary education of children from Uplyme and the surrounding villages. I support the current application which, if approved, will establish the principle of a new village school on the preferred site adjacent to the village hall and central to the village community.
The project has completed a further phase of public consultation in September 2012 prior to this planning application. The results of this consultation showed overwhelming support for the development of a replacement primary school adjacent to the Village Hall.
Please Note : In 2010/11 I chaired the startup project team, seeking to complete initial feasibility work as volunteers, and secure this site for a replacement school. The safeguard of Primary Education in Uplyme was one of my four key stated objectives in my re-election to EDDC in May 2011.
I recruited, initially also as volunteers, the professional team now completing the project.
The project has now been taken forward by the Trustees, the owners of the current , and likely owners of the new site. The original volunteers have been properly engaged by the Trustees to provide their professional services.
In view of this, I have consulted the EDDC Monitoring Officer who has confirmed that as my previous involvement at the core of the project has been declared and completed, it is appropriate I continue to act, (and am seen to act!) to the highest standard of public behaviour, as our elected Member in the Authority which will determine this application.
In the event that this application is heard by the Development Management Committee, I reserve my final opinion until hearing the complete evidence presented.
Sorry to sound so formal! – Ian”