Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

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JRW
Posts: 375
Joined: 18 Jun 2015 15:01

Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JRW »

Last chance for neighbours to comment on the #StPhilipNeri school travel plan, comments close on Monday 27th April. Lewisham Council planning, Application no. DC/20/115935

Important issues raised about the parking and pedestrian access issues, especially for Fairlawn Park residents.
Para 2.12 of the school travel plan suggests pedestrians approach from Bell Green Lane and Winchfield Road into #Fairlawn Park to enter. The planning condition of entrance from Home Park seems to be abandoned, & FP seems to be intended for the main entrance.

For those who have lost track of this development, the Archdiocese has had a planning enforcement notice brought against it by Lewisham, as the building is quite unlike the permitted plans. The Archdiocese is appealing the decision with the planning inspectorate. Given the coronavirus lock down, this means that further extensive delays are inevitable.
#OLSPN #StPhilipNeri #bellgreense26 #SE26 #sydenham @cllralanhall @CllrCurran @ChrisBestUK @LewishamCouncil
Jollylolly
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by Jollylolly »

Hi
I don’t understand this. The entrance being used is the one in the park. The school have said there are no plans to change this. The school actively discourage parents and children to use the front entrance. I’m a Fairlawn resident and have noticed a welcome reduction in traffic since the entrance was park side and can still park close to my house (even with the extra yellow lines- which in my view were excessive).


The parking I get angry about is the spaces outside the church hall/after school club on Sydenham road that are half on the pavement. There have been some near misses where drivers are not looking. I have complained to the school about this and it’s being looked at.
JRW
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JRW »

Hi Jollylollly,

Yes, the current entrance is from the park, as per the planning permission. The travel plan, however, suggests this is to change. See it for yourself at https://planning.lewisham.gov.uk/online ... ab=summary

It is confusing, especially because this document should have been approved before the school moved into the new building. We can't assume that the current arrangement will continue, and the pedestrian route suggested at 2.12 really worries me. Read it for yourself, and see what you think. We don't want to return to FP being the main entrance, as the double parking and idling engines was a nightmare.

If this is their intention, it would make sense of the huge amount of money spent on the FP road narrowing and crossing place, which is currently of no use to the school. It would also explain their refusal to deliver the improvements to Home Park, which were a condition of planning permission.

I should stress that these decisions are not made at the school itself, but by the Archdiocese, who will be considering the financial aspects. Completing the necessary works to the park to make the main entrance there viable are expensive. I know the school has had very little influence on the way the redevelopment has turned out.
JGD
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JGD »

I am not certain what is being highlighted here.

The newly submitted plan describes an alternative walking route to an existing access point.

It does not state this is to be a new main route and it does specifically refer to pedestrians.
2.12
  • For pedestrians, an alternative walking along the major road Sydenham Road A212 is to
    walk along Winchfield Road and Bell Green Lane which connect to Fairlawn Park where an
    access point to the School site is located.
Have I misunderstood what is the focal point of any apprehension that exists? Is it about traffic and parking only?

Is this Clause 2.12 a real problem in itself ?
JRW wrote: 21 Apr 2020 10:50 We don't want to return to FP being the main entrance, as the double parking and idling engines was a nightmare.
I am not sure I see this outcome being directly proposed in Clause 2.12 or in any of the other clauses of the Travel Plan.

The Travel Plan does make a key objective of reducing Solo Car trips to the school with specific defined targets helped by promoting the use of School Travel Plan Champion.

The weakest point of the plan is set-out in Clause 8.9 which looks, frankly, like a generic clause the consultant forgot to alter or delete.
JRW
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JRW »

The point is that, if approaching as a pedestrian from Winchfield Road, the obvious and quickest route would be through the park to the main entrance, not to Fairlawn Park where the existing 'access point' entrance is only open for kindergarten, and some out of hours clubs. It is not available for general use by pupils. Much of this document needs clarification.

Obviously, the issues are mainly felt by the immediate neighbours, and not so obvious to people living a bit further afield.
JGD
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JGD »

JRW wrote: 21 Apr 2020 11:42 The point is that, if approaching as a pedestrian from Winchfield Road, the obvious and quickest route would be through the park to the main entrance, not to Fairlawn Park where the existing 'access point' entrance is only open for kindergarten, and some out of hours clubs. It is not available for general use by pupils. Much of this document needs clarification.
So once more:
JGD wrote: 21 Apr 2020 11:30 The newly submitted plan describes an alternative walking route to an existing access point.

It does not state this is to be a new main route and it does specifically refer to pedestrians.
It would appear that there is no concern about vehicular traffic or changes to it described in the Travel Plan. Is that right?

Please,then, help everyone understand what you mean. Describe what in the document needs clarification about pedestrian access.
JRW
Posts: 375
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JRW »

The 'access point' in Fairlawn Park is NOT OPEN for general use. Therefore, directing people to it is sloppy, at best. Probably, the issues are all about sloppy drafting, but I think it is fair enough to point them out.

The Archdiocese is resisting sorting out the park improvements, so any fudging of the main entrance will have huge impact on immediate neighbours. We have an opportunity to comment, and I am not trying to tell people what to think. Read the document and make your own opinion. FP residents will live with the results.
JGD
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JGD »

JGD wrote: 21 Apr 2020 12:18 It would appear that there is no concern about vehicular traffic or changes to it described in the Travel Plan. Is that right?

Please,then, help everyone understand what you mean. Describe what in the document needs clarification about pedestrian access.

JRW wrote: 21 Apr 2020 12:23 Removed
At the end of the day you may be absolutely right and some clarification of the document could be required.

Just trying to bottom out what is precisely stated and what may need change - a response to a position you set when you posted "Much of this document needs clarification".
Last edited by JGD on 22 Apr 2020 17:14, edited 1 time in total.
JRW
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JRW »

I am going to leave it at, this document seems sloppy and confusing, and I think it worth neighbours having a look. If you think it is clear, then that's great.

If people think it needs clarification, then just send in a comment to ask for it. Ask for more information about the status of the existing entrances, and about the main entrance continuing to be from the park. We are all happy with the quieter FP, but can't assume that will continue, given the documents provided.

Up to you..
JGD
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Re: Planning alert - St Philip Neri school travel plan, last chance to comment

Post by JGD »

This is a longer read than I planned – it is important enough to warrant it.
JRW wrote: 21 Apr 2020 13:03 If people think it needs clarification, then just send in a comment to ask for it. Ask for more information about the status of the existing entrances, and about the main entrance continuing to be from the park. We are all happy with the quieter FP, but can't assume that will continue, given the documents provided.

Up to you..
Eh - no - and on two counts

If it is up to anyone, it is for the planning authority to make their deliberation on this application.

Their Planning Officers will examine hard facts before preparing their reports for submission to Planning Committee, if it is not deemed to be a delegated matter. They will consider comments received from the public on issues that are valid in planning terms. They will not answer queries.

The Planning Committee will make their decision based upon consideration of those facts. They will consider comments made in submission to them. But it is not their role to answer queries put to them and they will be bound by rules and procedures that require them to make consideration of matters relevant only to planning law - and not opinion.

They will be compelled to do so as the Applicant always has an option to consider making an Appeal to The Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspector in turn will consider only the hard facts around how the Application is dealt with, in terms of mandated procedure and whether any decision made by the Planning Authority is made based upon hard evidence that in turn is valid in planning terms. No real wriggle room for opinion here, for any of these parties.

This submission is for details submitted in respect of the Travel Plan Condition of planning permission Ref: DC/16/096041. Not the wider issues about which you report the Archdiocese is making the subject of an Appeal to The Planning Inspectorate.

On checking The Planning Inspectorate Appeals Casework Portal, it appears this appeal is not present.

This matter has developed into something similar to a Greek tragedy with three main players. In how many acts, remains to be seen.

A contractor with a track record of failed projects – some of them (not this one) conducted under the auspices of LB Lewisham. Establishments were left without any knowledge of what was complete or had been done in their buildings. Their failures were marked by a consistent absence of liaison or co-ordination with their clients or planning authority. Often in the absence of compunction about being detected. Culminating in the worst outcome possible at OLSPN, a building so far departed from the design that was approved as to make it unacceptable in planning conformance terms.

A school itself, that on the face of it has not done much wrong. Having been presented with an incomplete building the headteacher, the school governors and the staff made substantial efforts to transition into part of the school and deliver their statutory obligations. They moved to provide education for their pupils in a safe environment that provided security, guaranteed their safeguarding and utilised the facilities, such as the existed at that time, to the full.

They were obliged to conduct these activities accompanied by an irrational fly-poster campaign based on an early manifestation of inaccurate “alternative facts”, that created unnecessary fear in the minds of parents and pupils.

The school is to be commended for these efforts and this was reflected in the positive commentary made by staff and parents at the last public meeting. At that meeting there were also calls from the floor for the fly-posters to desist in their campaign.

There was no failure on insurance, there was no failure of reporting process based on a falsehood that there was an issue with asbestos in the grounds of the school and there was no failure of the school in obtaining and issuing all mandated notices for the move.

Upon it becoming evident that the building did not conform with the approved design, OLSPN was forced to observe the issue of an Enforcement Notice.

The Archdiocese perhaps had only one significant failing at this stage. Either it did not have adequate expertise on board to perform an Asset Protection role or it was entirely ineffective. Had there been an effective presence it could have conducted oversight of the tendering process, the design development team and the out-sourced building control function. The historic failures of the successful tenderer would have been evident and might have resulted in their disqualification. The detection of the departure from the approved design would have happened at an earlier and more appropriate stage.

The facts that the building is of poor design, poor build quality and subject of an Enforcement Notice are not disputed.

This position needs resolution that on the face of it, will require Herculean effort.

Compromise is inevitable.

The planning authority has an imperative to make certain that any breach of planning law is policed and by enforcement if necessary and will have a strong need to ensure that precedent is not set where they are seen to fail to address a planning breach.

At a meeting convened by SydSoc, the then Acting Head of Planning confirmed that here never had been a precedent in England where a school building constructed in such a way as to breach its planning permission was then demolished and rebuilt.

There is evidence the planning authority has moved substantially towards consultation as a mitigation route to resolving this matter. As I understand events, they have rejected the revised planning application submitted by the Archdiocese’s new planning consultants.

The school is caught in the middle and has the weakest hand in terms of what it can contribute to resolve the problem.

The Archdiocese perhaps inevitably will have the greater financial price to pay. Its early key failures must not now be compounded by intransigence.

It will take a minor miracle on the part of the new consultants to make the OLSPN building aesthetically acceptable in the slightest degree. The silk purse cannot be made out of the sow’s ear. The over-height and roof line issues have a marked bearing on the street scape and particularly for near neighbours.

Pat Trembath of SydSoc made a salient point at the second public meeting, convened by the school, that the new planning consultants did not seem to be prepared to include the designs for the Home Park approach that had been part of the original approval. The answer from the new consultants did not appear adequate and it is unclear whether that matter has been resolved satisfactorily.

The authority will not want to withdraw the Enforcement Notice, the Archdiocese will seek to avoid part-demolition and reconstruction costs and the school will want to be delivered of a building that is free of incumbrances and the threat of further disruption.

Lawful compromise, aesthetic compromise, political compromise - all must be considered achievable.

A solution to avoid a long and adversarial route of Enforcement. Planning Inspectorate Appeals and possible court actions needs to be found.

A fair wind is essential – perhaps borne of and from a community desire to see the matter closed

The school’s community deserves it.

Hard facts – not necessarily the complete picture.
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