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Election candidates cast doubt over location of proposed specialist secondary school

PUBLISHED: 15:12 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:12 31 May 2017

An artist's impression of ShaW Futures Academy in Bromley

An artist's impression of ShaW Futures Academy in Bromley

Archant

SHaW Futures Academy have applied for planning permission to build the school on a busy intersection in Bromley south

Doubts have been cast over the location of a new specialist secondary school by Bromley and Chislehurst election candidates.

At the consituency’s first hustings all canidates, Bob Neill (Conservative), Roisin Robertson (Green), Emmet Jenner (Ukip), Sara Hyde (Labour), and Sam Webber (Liberal Democrat) agreed that the corner of Westmoreland Road and Masons Hill was the wrong site for the SHaW Futures Academy, because its location on an intersection will result in congestion and poor air quality.

SHaW Futures Academy, launched by Bromley Education Trust, has applied for planning for a 10-storey, 1,260-place building which will specialise in science, health, and wellbeing.

It has gained support from King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, Oxleas NHS Trust, and Canterbury Christ Church University.

Candidates did agree that more school places in the borough are needed, but suggested that other possible locations could be used instead.

Jonathan Coulter, a campaigner for Bromley Cyclists, said at the hustings: “The issue surrounding the number of school places is being used as a determination to get the school approved, but people do migrate over borough boundaries for school.

“No one is saying that the school shouldn’t be built, but in terms of location, there needs to be more dialogue. Candidates suggest expanding upon places like Kelsey Park, or building on the site around the Civic Centre as the council are scaling back anyway.

“Many who live close to the site feel the new school will blight their neighbourhood. They have received notices that preliminary work is to start in advance of the planning decision, and fear that this is already a ‘done deal’.

“However, this planning application is not just a neighbourhood matter, but affects the whole Bromley South commuter-catchment. Transport for London have pointed to flaws in SHaW’s transport assessment and to the likelihood of congestion and delays in buses, problems that can only increase in line with growing populaion and high-rise development.

“I hope that the council will heed the candidates reservations, engage with constituents, and commission some more thorough transport planning for Bromley south and access routes.”

sam Parrett, chief executive of London South East Colleges, which sponsors the trust behind the plans, said: “Shaw Futures Academy has the potential to equip young people with the hands-on skills and firm academic foundation needed for rewarding and successful careers.

“There is an urgent need for skilled people to support health and wellbeing in and around this area, we want the academy to be a centre for education expertise, which will attract and support people from Bromley.”

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