GetWestLondon is reporting that controversial proposals for a new free school building on green land in West London have been approved after what it calls a ‘mammoth planning meeting lasting nearly five hours’.
Nishkam School Trust was [on Thursday night] given the go-ahead to build on the old White Lodge Club sports ground in Syon Lane, Osterley , where it will eventually accommodate 1,400 pupils aged from four to 18.
The plans were backed by 10 councillors on the planning committee, with three voting against, in a meeting which began at 7.30pm and did not end until midnight.
The ‘Sikh ethos’ school, which opened in 2013, was founded by members of the Sikh community but is open to children of all and no faiths.
The campaign group Keep Osterley Green (KOG) had presented a 1,200-signature petition opposing the loss of open space.
But a rival lobbying group Give Osterley Opportunity (GOO) said its members had submitted the same number of letters in support of the application.
Almost 500 people packed into the Lampton Park Conference Centre at Hounslow Civic Centre.
The four-and-a-half hours of presentations, questioning and debates essentially boiled down to two key points:
- Did the school prove this application met the ‘very special circumstances’ required to build on metropolitan open land, which is afforded the same protection as the green belt?
- Had the school done enough to address concerns about extra traffic on already congested roads in the area?
…Speaking after the meeting, George Andraos, of KOG, said he was concerned the decision would set a precedent for building on green land across the borough.
“This was a political decision, not a planning one, and we’ve known this from the start. The desire for new schools and homes overrides the desire to protect our green spaces,” he said.
“Once that piece of metropolitan open land goes, more and more will be built upon. This will create a precedent.”
Should the new school building be approved by the Greater London Authority, it is scheduled to open in September 2017.
Planning battles are surely going to become a bigger and bigger issue as new schools and new school buildings are required across the country to cope with increasing pupil numbers.
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