Planning permission for the creation of new Special Educational Needs school, including part single / part two storey main school building, car parking and external play areas, landscaping and refuse storage area – HAMPDEN PARK.
Amendments to the report were noted in the Addendum.
Mr Scott-Ralphs, CEO of St. Wilfrid’s Hospice, stated that he did not object to the new school, but raised concerns at the potential increase of vehicles using the shared access road during peak periods and loss of overspill parking. If the access road was widened, he said this would help improve traffic flow and enable cars to pass and to park. He also raised concerns regarding potential noise disturbance issues which should be addressed before the start of the build.
Remo Palladino, CEO of Southfield Trust, spoke in support of the application, stating that there was a demand for special need schools in East Sussex. Centrally located, he said the school would reduce travelling time, would be near to the hospital for medical support, and near to the college for students to access further education, and would create 100 new jobs.
Steve Giles, Motion Transport Planning (Transport Consultants for the scheme), confirmed there would be parking for 82 cars with additional drop off bays for 25 vehicles. The set back school meant there would be no blockages if vehicles arrived early and there would be space inside the site for vehicles to queue. He felt that widening the access road would not resolve the problems, but that double yellow lines on the access road would create a safer route into the site. He said the works were compliant with East Sussex Highways standards.
Councillor Whippy, Lead Cabinet Member for Disabilities and Community Safety spoke in support of the application stating that there were not enough school places for children with complex medical needs; the school was financially viable, it would create 100 jobs and was ideally located to reduce travelling distances for parents.
Members welcomed the application for the school, but recognised there was potential for noise disturbance, traffic and parking issues. To mitigate the issues, Members suggested using an alternative access point or widening the verge at the existing entrance to the Hospice and School to create an extended layby. Officers advised that these had been considered, but were not viable due to the loss of habitat / trees and would not be supported by the Ecologist. Although widening the road would encourage cars to pass, it might encourage speeding. Parking bays for dropping off and picking up children would be provided in front of the school and this would be marshalled to stop blockages occurring. Overflow parking would have to be by a private agreement and noise disturbance could be alleviated with an acoustic fence prior to any construction on the site. Concern was also expressed regarding impact on an archaeological dig that was taking place; officers advised the land would be checked before building work commenced.
Councillor Murray proposed a motion to approve the application. This was seconded by Councillor Vaughan.
RESOLVED (Unanimous): That permission be approved as set out in the report and the Addendum, and subject to an additional condition for an acoustic fence to be installed before development commences.