Earlsfield school plans will turn quiet roads into "rat runs" say residents

Wandsworth Guardian: The Atheldene Day Centre The Atheldene Day Centre

Plans to build a new 472-pupil primary school in Earlfield have been strongly criticised by residents in the surrounding area.

The planning application for a new 472-pupil school on the now vacant site of the Atheldene Centre was submitted in December last year.

To help fund the construction costs Wandsworth Council is also proposing that nine flats are built on the part of the Atheldene site that fronts Oakshaw Road.

The council last week asked residents to submit their views on the plans but the response has not been positive.

Among the complaints include concerns about building a large school on such a small site, impact of the school on residents, the loss of 16 trees, as well as issues connected to traffic, parking, congestion and noise for residents in Atheldene and Farlton roads.

Susy Lloyd, a Farlton Road resident, said: "The impact on residents will be huge. With 472 pupils, each accompanied by one parent, plus 50 staff, 1,000 people will be descending on Farlton Road at peak collection/drop off times every weekday morning and afternoon.

"The site is 0.5 hectares which is 27 per cent of the recommended 1.8 hectares for a school site with this many pupils.

"The traffic assessment estimates an additional 81 cars each day but we think this is conservative estimate.

"The proposal is for drop off points to be in the middle of Farlton Road. This will cause real chaos in these tiny streets. Farlton and Atheldene roads will be turned into rat runs with residents unable to exit the street - this is the experience of residents elsewhere.

"In principle I would like to see the site redeveloped, but the proposal, in its current form, will hugely impact local residents living in Farlton and Atheldene Roads."

Although the council's planning application did mention that 16 "incompatible" trees including Norway maple, wild cherry, elder, apple, ash and London plane would be felled, its official public press release mysteriously failed to point this out.

The council have also been unable to confirm whether any of the flats will qualify as affordable housing.

If approved, the school could form part of a wider regeneration of Earlsfield which could include a new health centre, new homes and new shops.

Residents have until January 31 to register their views.

To view the application and read the comments visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/planningregister keying in reference number 2013/6324.

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