Shortlands residents ‘up in arms’ over primary school

PUBLISHED: 15:42 30 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:43 30 September 2013

Controversial proposals for a new Shortlands primary school have left residents “up in arms” because they feel they have not been consulted by Bromley Council.

More than a hundred residents attended a “packed” meeting, organised by the Shortlands Residents’ Association, to discuss the plans on Wednesday.

Residents are particularly angered by a “lack of consultation” from the council about the building of a primary school on the Kingswood House site.

After the meeting, Mark Dempsey, Chairman of the Shortlands Residents’ Association, said: “Local residents were clearly angry about the lack of consultation, as well as the inability of Bromley Council to provide a spokesperson at this meeting given the likely impact on the area.”

The site on Valley Road, according to the residents’ association, “appears to be entirely inadequate for 420 pupils”.

Schools group Harris Federation, who are behind building a school on the site, attended the meeting, too.

Mr Dempsey added: “I am grateful that Harris were represented at this meeting, and that our two local councillors were there to hear peoples’ concerns.”

The residents’ association also feel a new primary school will create parking and traffic problems, which are already an issue due to commuter parking at Shortlands train station.

Mr Dempsey added: “We cannot understand the justification for another new school, let alone one on this tiny awkward shaped site which already suffers serious parking and traffic issues, which will be made even worse if this school goes ahead.”

Mr Dempsey went onto express further concerns about whether the project would finish on time if it were to go ahead.

“And given that the school is, in theory, to open this time next year, the lack of detailed plans and even a feasibility study is extremely worrying,” he said.

“We understand that the first intake will actually be housed in temporary accommodation at a site that has yet to be identified”.

The council, though, distanced themselves from the plans - at least for the time being.

A council spokesperson said: “This is not a council initiative but something the Harris Federation and the EFA believe feasible.

“Enquiries about the design and build should therefore be addressed directly to the Education Funding Agency and Harris.”

The council did issue concerns over the “well-documented demand for primary schools across London”.

The spokesperson added: “The proposal is at an early stage and would need planning permission, the process for which would include formal consultation with residents and others as well as examining issues such as traffic, in line with the Council’s planning policies.”

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