100 signatures reached
To: Mayor of London
Save Metropolitan Open Land in Whitton
We call on the Mayor of London to call-in and reject the planning application to relocate Turing House School onto Metropolitian Open land (MOL) in Whitton.
The plans were approved on the 10th July 2019 by Richmond Council after a marathon planning meeting, and over 1,200 objections. It was very clear that the planning officers and the Planning Committee treated it as a 'council'/their own application and thus benefit from more leeway than otherwise would be the case.
There are a number of alternative sites, big enough and closer to the main catchment area which has been ignored by Richmond Council; one of these should be used instead of destroying MOL.
Why is this important?
- Metropolitan Open Land is important to all Londoners as they are a resource for biodiversity, act as a green lung, and promote wellbeing in general by providing open views.
- It will be located far from the point of identified need; Fulwell & the Hamptons. In Whitton and Twickenham, there is a surplus of school places.
- The school's existing Hampton Site is large enough to accommodate the school on one site (in a new purpose-built building). However, the Council wants to sell that land for housing.
- The planning committee was told by officers and the applicant that they effectively had the choice of either giving the school planning permission or it would be closed down. They were also told incorrectly that expanding existing schools have to be fully funded by the borough (without any reference given to Basic Need mechanism where the Government pays the majority of the cost).
- Location is wholly unsuitable for a school due to dangerous access being at the foot of a 1850s narrow humped back bridge, and the school placed next to a noisy railway line.
- Dangerous main entrance shared with a landscapers/builders yard that has HGV traffic arriving and departing at the same time as pupils.
- Being located outside its main 80% catchment area which will result in extra congestion and pollution, as the A316 cuts off Whitton from the rest of Richmond Borough and there are only two highly congested crossing points for road traffic.
- The sixth form is an over-development of MOL as there is already a massive oversupply of sixth form / tertiary education places in the borough.
- Land allocated to playing fields are excessive and if the scheme goes ahead the size of these needs to be reduced and more land handed over as an extension to Heathfield Recreation Ground as compensation.
- Insufficient bus services are being provided; Transport for London wanted funding for a lot more bus services but these were negotiated down by the Government. This will result in more pupils traveling to school by car than projected in the Travel Plan.
- The Hospital Bridge Road site is burial land and the London Plan policy 7.23 seeks to protect it. This was not addressed by Richmond Council. This proposal will result in Hounslow losing around a third of her burial supply.
- The proposed building does not meet modern energy efficiency standards which will increase pollution and cost the school more in running costs.
- The applicant has not carried out the requests in the GLA Stage 1 Report by not seriously looking at sites in Hounslow, reducing the footprint of the school buildings or the carpark, and other issues such as the use of render rather than brick.
- Hounslow Council requested conditions to make the bridge safer and for there to be cycle lanes and extra crossings added to the road around the site etc (as the site borders their Borough). These were hidden from the planning committee and were not mentioned in the Officers Report.