Detailed Sample Letter for Objecting to Proposed Schools' Move Map
There is still time to write to object to the proposed schools' redevelopment proposals.
We suggest that you select one (or more) of the six planning applications that are of most relevance to you. Include the planning reference(s) on the letter.
You can address the letter to the Case Officer(s) concerned or to Mr Kevin Steptoe, the head of Development Control.The application references are:
|Reference Number||Location||Case Officer|
|3/08/1101/OP||Beldams Lane – 180 dwellings.||Alyson Young|
|3/08/1102/OP||H E Girls/Warwick Rd – 125 dwellings.||Alyson Young|
|3/08/1103/OP||Boys High School – 220 dwellings.||Chay Dempster|
|3/08/1115/OP||Hadham Road - 250 dwellings.||Liz Humbie|
|3/08/1116/OP||Hadham Road -165 dwellings (contingency in case the area of the site used for sports purposes is not released in time).||Liz Humbie|
|3/08/1117/OP||Whittington Way new schools.||Chay Dempster|
The sample letter below outlines some of the arguments against the proposals. There is also a shorter letter available.
Mr Kevin Steptoe
Head of Development Control
East Herts Council
Your Ref: <Reference number(s)>
I am writing to you to express our complete opposition to the proposals to relocate two secondary schools on to a Green Belt site on the edge of town and to build nearly 1000 houses on the sites they plan to vacate and at Hadham Road.
We agree that Bishop's Stortford needs more secondary school places. The LEA’s evidence to the Local Plan Inquiry showed that by 2011/12 the town would have an absolute shortfall of 270 places, or 9 forms of entry (FE). Allowing for the Birchwood High School's expansion by 3 FE, that still means a need for an additional 6 FE in 4 years' time. Since neither school needs to move, the only argument is about how to meet this need. We believe there are powerful arguments against the proposed relocation to Whittington Way and no exceptional justification for sacrificing Green Belt protection.
Against Whittington Way
- Loss of Green Belt – this is the most open protected site within the bypass – building on it would open the way to further development on the rest of the site and lead to pressure on other Green Belt sites.
- Access – the site is remote from the main bus routes and train station – fewer homes would be within walking distance than the schools' current sites.
- Traffic congestion – concentrating the school run in one place makes the problem worse – Thorley and Thorley Park would be marooned by it twice a day.
- Noise – the site cannot comply with statutory maximum noise limits for new schools if either Stansted Airport expands or the BUZAD take off route is relocated as proposed by NATS.
- Housing – nearly 1000 more houses are envisaged than those already planned for Bishop's Stortford – the sites are patently unsuitable and the town cannot absorb this addition to the number already allocated to Bishop's Stortford in the Local Plan.
- Decline in educational quality – there is increasing evidence that big schools damage educational attainment and encourage anti-social behaviour, forcing teachers to spend too much time on crowd control and not enough on educating pupils they know.
- School places – the schools do not plan to meet the shortfall at the time the LEA has forecast that it will arise, but 10 years too late in 2021.
- Parental choice – enlarging the present schools gives parents no more choice of educational opportunity than they have today.
By contrast there are equally powerful arguments in favour of setting up a new school at Hadham Road on the site which is owned by the County Council and has been reserved for that purpose for many years.
For Hadham Road
- No loss of Green Belt – the site is within the built up area and owned by the LEA.
- Size – the site is big enough (8.3 hectares) for a 6 FE school. The LEA agree that this would be a viable size of school. If extra playing fields are needed, the Rugby Club immediately opposite may be able to help.
- Access – the site is on a main bus route – it would provide state school places for those areas of the town and neighbouring villages which have none now, increasing the number of homes within walking distance. Moreover, if the ASRs Map were to be developed, the site would provide school places within walking distance of them.
- Traffic congestion – the additional accessibility to this site by bus and on foot would reduce the overall size of the school run. Dispersing the school run among four locations would reduce pressure across the road network.
- Transport policy – the site would meet the Local Plan transport objectives of reducing the number and length of car journeys and encouraging alternative means of travel.
- Aircraft noise – no problem.
- School places – the site could meet the shortfall at the time it is needed – 2012.
- Housing – the town would be spared an unwanted extra thousand houses – and the need for extra school places which they would generate.
- Parental choice – a new school would increase parental choice.
While the Boys' High School may need new buildings, destroying the Green Belt and selling off taxpayer owned assets for housing development profit is not the way to pay for them. New schools are built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) – the private sector partner provides the funding and the schools pay a rent when the new facilities are completed and occupied. There need therefore be no immediate call on the LEA's budget apart from the cost of identifying and agreeing a contract with the private sector provider – a better use of resources than the sums the County Council have already committed to the relocation proposal.Yours ....