Neighbours Concern for Noise & Parking As Primary School Applies For Expansion

Prospect House School on Putney Hill hope to increase from 200 to 280 pupils


Planning Application

Prospect House School

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Local school Prospect House has reapplied to expand its pupil size from 200 to 280 following a rejection in December 2010 for 320 pupils. The school is located in a converted Victorian villa on Putney Hill.

This follows an application in October 2010 where they were requesting 300 which was rejected on 14th December on the grounds of 'an unacceptable increase in noise and activity to the detriment of residential amenity of neighbours contrary to council policy CS3'.  This reflected the views of the residents in the area who find the existing traffic caused by parents dropping and collecting their children only reasonably tolerable.

At the beginning of 2010 an application was made for an increase to 320  which had already been rejected. Neighbouring residents are disappointed to find that less than three months after the last refusal the school is applying once again.

One local resident told,"The local residents feel that 200 is the maximum but they will not accept this. There is already considerable noise and traffic congestion is caused by the school both during the day and for frequent evening functions."

She continued,"Objections have to be submitted before March 28th and the more support we can get the better. If as many of your subscribers as possible could add their objections too, it will all help.This is the third time we have had to 'combat' this and obviously they hope that if they carry on long enough they will manage to achieve their goal."

The current Planning Application is dated the 7th March 2011 and asks for comments to be submitted by 28th March leaving little time for residents to submit their objections yet again. It is understood that currently the School has nearly 20 vacant places.  If their application to increase the number is successful they will have to provide additional accommodation and the breaks will need to be staggered throughout the day as there is insufficient space in the playground for all the pupils to be there at the same time. So the noise will be more or less continuous throughout the day with games periods as well.

Nigel Shattock who is anxious that the school does not expands told
"They are obviously hoping that by making repeated applications they will achieve an increase but we are determined to carry on fighting. We  quickly need as many letters or emails as possible objecting (quoting reference Application Number: 2011/0559)  submitted to:
Rosalynn Claxton
Wandsworth Council
Technical Services Department
The Town Hall  Wandsworth High Street
London SW18 2PU or email: 

He continued, " It should be realised the school is located in a residential area on a very small site and any increase would not be beneficial to the pupils or parents - only financially to the owners of the school. If they want a larger school they should look for larger premises instead of creating a local nuisance."

A resident from the neighbouring flats said, "I like children. I can live with the noise. But I cannot live with increased congestion and unlawful denial of access to my property, which is one of the most basic property rights. They park on the zig zags. They park across our drive way at Lavington Court, 77 Putney Hill. They double park in the road area blocking our right to pass and repass on the Queen's highways and byways, all while they go into the school to pick up their children."

The Headmistress Dianne Barrett told
"The school is a victim of its own success and I am very proud of it and all my staff. It is nowadays beset by parents seeking places for their children, so much so that for children registered later than usual we are sometimes in the position where we cannot even accept a sibling, to whom we usually give preference: this is why the school has applied to lift the cap on its numbers. The school already runs parallel classes in two year groups, a system that offers significant educational and social benefits to children; relaxing the cap will allow this system over time to be extended further. Of course, any growth in the school would be very gradual, taking place over a number of years. At the present time we have no vacancies in the school at all for September other than in Year 6 the final year."

"The main point of opposition to the relaxation of the cap appears to be from immediate neighbours and is principally related to the drop-off and collection of children. It is important to set this issue in context, given that there is rarely a significant problem and that the period each day when children are joining or leaving school lasts only for a few minutes. The school has very good vehicle access from Tibbet's Ride and runs a dedicated, well-organised and highly efficient drop-off system through its own driveway and car park. All staff that arrive by car are able to park on site, so that there is no pressure on parking spaces in the road. Moreover, the school is not in operation at weekends or during the holidays, thus for over half the days in the year the building and its grounds are totally tranquil. If planning consent is given, the school has additionally offered to implement within the consent a strict traffic plan developed by specialist consultants which will in any event address any such concerns from neighbours."

She continued:
" It appears that a lot of rumours and misconceptions about the school's application abound. Over the last few months, two neighbours have contacted me to enquire further about the application and I have been delighted to meet with each to address his or her concerns."

March 18, 2011