Condition restricting form entry at school upheld on highway safety grounds

Provision of additional accommodation for education use without complying with a condition restricting additional forms of entry was refused at a primary school in a mainly residential area of north west London for harm to the safe and effective operation of the highway network.

Planning permission for the extension of the school, to provide additional accommodation for education use, was granted in 2016. The planning permission included a condition restricting the school to a two form entry per year, in order to ensure adequate highway safety. The appellant sought a variation of the condition due to fluctuating demand for school places from year to year. The proposed condition would allow for 14 classes across the school, but without defining the number of classes per year. The main issue of the appeal was therefore the effect of varying the condition on highway safety.

The appeal site was located within a controlled parking zone, which provided both residents' parking bays and short-term visitor parking. The inspector noted a considerable degree of parking stress existed within the locality and there was no availability for parking close to the school. With two other schools nearby, the area had to manage the arrival and departure of approximately 1000 pupils, twice a day. Concern had been raised by the council that by allowing more than two classes per year group, pressure would occur to accommodate additional classes in subsequent year groups which would in turn result in additional traffic congestion and would be detrimental to highway safety.

In considering the appellant’s case, the inspector noted that, despite their assertions of no increase in numbers through the year groups, no detailed information had been provided to confirm how class numbers would be managed if a high take-up level occurred over a period of several years or if numbers did not reduce in subsequent years. This could result in a greater number of car journeys and additional parking stress within the locality. Therefore, the inspector concluded the proposal would have a harmful effect on the safe and efficient operation of the highway network near the appeal site.

Inspector: Helen Cassini; Written representations

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