Threat to Streatham and Clapham High School students if school expansion plan is thrown out

BY JAMES TWOMEY
james@slpmedia.co.uk

A school may have to kick out 50 students after a bust-up with residents over a plan to expand.

The Streatham and Clapham High School in Abbotswood Road, Streatham has been locked in a dispute with neighbours of the school over its plans to increase the size of the senior site and the amount of students it can hold from 505 to 650.

The school is already 50 students over capacity and, if the planning application it has lodged with Lambeth council is rejected, those students could be without a school.

The earliest possible date for the Lambeth planning committee to meet and decide the application is September 24 which risks the students leaving or moving to another site at least a month after the school year begins.

The residents are concerned about the school winning further expansion applications if the current one is granted, and worry that proper traffic rules are not in place to combat the extra cars on the road.

One resident who wished not to be named said: “Cars can’t pass on the road at the best of times, and during the school run it’s very difficult. Residents aren’t happy with the extra building until the transport is sorted out.

“No-one, not even the most die-hard anti-school objector, wants to see 50 12-year-old girls chucked out of school.

“There’s obviously the potential for a fair degree of disruption to their education if the expansion is knocked back by the council.

“I am very reluctant to draw attention to myself either from the school or the Girls’ School Day Trust legal team, given their track record of interactions with locals to date.”

Another resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “The local residents have genuine concerns but there is a climate of fear among us.”

A spokeswoman for Streatham and Clapham High School said: “Last year (2018/19) was a bulge year.

“Like many schools in London, we had a higher rate of acceptances than in previous years. Our senior site can easily accommodate these girls.

“Our planning application aims to allow for a gradual increase in pupil numbers over the next few years.

“Our comprehensive transport assessment clearly shows a minimal increase in traffic locally.

“We have engaged and consulted with local residents, and always strive to foster good relations with our neighbours.”

A Lambeth council spokesman said: “A planning application has been made by the school to increase the pupil numbers at the site from 505 to 650 pupils. This has been supported by technical reports covering transport, noise and air quality.

“Lambeth council is still considering the application which will be determined in due course.

Residents get the opportunity to comment fully as part of that process.”

3 thoughts on “Threat to Streatham and Clapham High School students if school expansion plan is thrown out

  • 13th September 2019 at 7:59 am
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    No one wants to see pupils having to leave their school, but the big question the school must answer is how they’ve let this happen? Why have they illegally currently got 50 more pupils than the planning rules state they can have? Why does their application increase the numbers of cars travelling to the school at a time when we need to reduce car traffic? Why can’t parents not travel by car and respect the environment of the local community? Residents understandably are concerned about their own heath and wellbeing – congestion, air quality and noise. Why has the school not engaged constructively with its local resident and let this state of affairs happen? Why are local residents living in a culture of fear of retaliation from the school and the GDST if they object to these plans ? This application needs to be turned down by Lambeth councillors – the school be asked to look hard again and submit a new application having properly looked at how to mitigate the adverse effects of wanting to grow. In short taking a greater responsibility to its community.

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  • 20th September 2019 at 10:09 am
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    The school has spent £13.5m on a building project over the past four years and yet the Council has not asked for one penny by way of Section 106 money or any kind of contribution to the local area. As a near neighbour I am very concerned about pollution levels; their stated figures about numbers of cars dropping off and picking up the girls are very wide of the mark and there is often chaos outside the school at these times. They could so easily put traffic and travel plans in place and at least offer to plant some trees to offset the additional pollution but they seem to think rules do not apply to them. It is a good school academically and I would have no problem with it expanding if it offered to work to minimise disruption to the community, but it does not seem to think that this is necessary.

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  • 30th September 2019 at 3:02 pm
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    The School’s own transport impact assessment shows that if this expansion is approved there will be significantly more cars coming into our residential neighbourhood than the figure that was deemed to be totally unacceptable by the Council in 2016, when the School’s first Travel Plan was refused. The School should be expected to significantly reduce the existing unacceptably high number of car journeys by pupils and staff, and not increase them further, and it should be doing much more to manage and mitigate their impacts on residents and on our children who live here. The School should take responsibility for the car and coach traffic that it generates, and work in co-operation with the Council and local residents, and not against them.

    Reply

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