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Appeal to build on St Hugh’s playing fields sparks legal advice

PUBLISHED: 17:05 15 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:28 15 January 2018

Aerial view of Bullers Wood School for Boys

Aerial view of Bullers Wood School for Boys

Archant

Hundreds of families are facing an uncertain future as they wait to discover whether the school they want to send their sons to will open in September.

Legal advice has been taken following the dismissal of a planning appeal over the proposed Bullers Wood School for Boys.

The Kier Construction application, which requested the building of the secondary school on St Hugh’s playing fields, Chislehurst, was initially refused in January 2017, before a subsequent application was accepted in October.

Nancy Lengthorn, a trustee from the charity Bromley Brighter Beginnings, said: “The reality is that many families are counting on this school.

“Other local schools just don’t hold enough places for everyone, meaning so many are now looking into moving just so that their child can attend a school close by.”

The first application was refused due to road safety and traffic concerns, sparking the council to seek legal advice over the second application.

The Development Control Committee decision to approve the second application was subject to a legal agreement, which had not beencompleted when the outcome of the appeal was announced.

Ms Lengthorn said that on the day the planning inspector had visited the area, many roads were closed off for works which had led to an unusual amount of traffic in the area.

She added: “I’m not saying it’s a quiet road, but it is certainly not normally like it was on that particular day.

“The school had already received over 500 applications for September, that’s 500 families of boys starting secondary school who will have to find alternative schools if these plans are cancelled.

For the future of these families being able to stay in the area to come down to a bizarre assessment of traffic which occurred on just one day is shocking.”

A council spokesman said: “We are deeply aware of the ongoing public interest in the future of the St Hugh’s playing fields by parents and residents alike.

We need to consider the potential legal implications arising from the independent planning inspector’s decision to make sure the long term decisions are correct for all concerned.”

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