Recommendation: Conditional approval
Proposal: Full application for the construction of a new 150 place Special Educational Needs school with associated access, parking and landscaping.
Applicant: Reds 10 (on behalf of the Department for Education)
The Committee received and reviewed a report about this application, set out in agenda pages 21 to 70.
The Committee were advised that updates contained within the supplementary planning agenda included:
· Minor amendment to the wording of condition 1;
· Insertion of a list of drawings to be approved for condition 2;
· Replacement condition 19;
· Additional informative relating to fire regulations.
Matthew Garvey, agent, spoke in support of the application. Matthew stated that this application would meet the acute need of special education needs (SEND) provision within the Borough. Currently, many SEND pupils were transported outside of the Borough, and this application would help to meet this demand within the Borough. Matthew added that a full consultation had been undertaken, officer advice had been taken on board, and the DFE who were a funder of the project felt that the site was suitable. Matthew stated that a number of alternative site options had been discounted as they were considered unsuitable, and air quality and noise levels were considered acceptable for such a SEND school environment. Matthew added that key trees would be retained across the site, and acceptable levels of car parking spaces would be provided as part of the application. Matthew concluded by stating that the building would be net carbon neutral, in part due to the inclusion of photovoltaic panels and heat pumps.
Sal Thirlway, on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council (WBC), spoke in support of the application. Sal stated that this application would complement the existing SEND provision in the Borough of Chiltern Way Academy and Addington School. Sal added that this application would assist in providing a broad range of SEND provision within the Borough. Children being transported out of the Borough was not ideal, and allowing children to attend a school within the Borough would allow the children to be better prepared due to less travel time to and from school. Sal concluded by stating that this application would make positive impacts in terms of SEND resourcing strategy.
Paul Fishwick, Ward Member, commented on the application. Paul stated that the nature of this type of school would generate additional motor traffic, especially during the AM peak. This additional traffic would affect the single and only access junction of Woodward Close with the A329, which already queued at that time. Paul was of the opinion that the traffic modelling appeared to miss the western arm of Woodward Close, showing a zero traffic generation. Paul added that the proposed application would make the traffic situation worse than the traffic modelling suggested. Paul stated that the traffic modelling without the proposed application showed that new King Street Lane junction with Hatch Farm Way, Winnersh Relief Road, would be at capacity, and that this application would only add to the projected queues at this junction. Paul added ... view the full minutes text for item 35