School gets green light to expandBy Hugh Fort
January 17, 2012
A school in Priestwood will expand to cater for more than 600 pupils, despite fears over traffic chaos at pick-up and drop-off time.
Meadow Vale School in Moordale Avenue had submitted plans for a new sports hall and extensions to its classrooms as it prepares to increase from two classes per year group to three.
The decision means the school will gradually increase its pupil numbers from 420 to 630.
The plans were put before Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee recently and members raised concerns about the increase in staff leading to an increase in on-street parking.
Like roads adjoining most of the schools in the borough, the road is plagued by parking problems at arrival and collection times.
Priestwood councillor Tricia Brown, who sits on the committee, said one person she knew had been blocked in their house for an hour by someone collecting their children.
As the application came from the council itself, there was not the danger associated with planning of an appeal.
The discussion first suggested sending it back to the drawing board to provide more parking spaces.
However, Councillor Dale Birch said this would be a waste of time as a travel plan the school would adhere to was already in place.
He added the traffic problems were caused by parents, not street parking and that it was a borough-wide problem.
But a traffic report in the planning application showed traffic around the school has actually dropped over the last few years and efforts are being made at all Bracknell schools to try to reduce parking problems.
After some debate on whether to send the plans back to the drawing board, Bev Hindle, the council’s chief officer for planning and transport, said it was important not to waste time on the plans as it could lead to problems with a future intake of pupils.
It was also pointed out that, despite the parking issues, no local people had objected to the plans.
The committee decided to allow the plans.
After the meeting, headteacher Nigel Duncan said: “We’re obviously very pleased.
“The decision means there won’t be the scenario of members of the same family going to different schools because there isn’t the space and the new sports hall could mean we could convert one or even both of our current halls to a full-time music room or drama room.
“It’s good news for the community here.”