To consider a report of the Director of
Economy, Transport and Environment regarding a planning application
for a 2 storey block to provide 16 classrooms and associated
ancillary spaces and landscaped areas at Calthorpe Park School, Hitches Lane, Fleet
(Application No. 19/02417/HCC)
(Site Ref: HRE026).
The Committee considered a report from the Director of Economy, Transport and Environment (item 6 in the minute book) regarding a planning application for a 2-storey block to provide 16 classrooms and associated ancillary spaces and landscaped areas at Calthorpe Park School, Hitches Lane, Fleet (Application No. 19/02417/HCC) (Site Ref: HRE026).
Members received an overview of the application for a further expansion to the school on land that was previously occupied by Hart Leisure Centre. Members heard that the secondary school’s capacity needed to be increased due to substantial housing development in the area. Diagrams reflected the planned flow of travel modes to the school and through the school grounds considering existing environmental constraints and pedestrian safety. Naturally ventilated classrooms, a new dining hall, additional parking, and social spaces with softer landscapes would be provided keeping in mind the visual impact of the design as well as highway safety and traffic management.
The Committee received two deputations for this item. Charlotte Gregory spoke first on behalf of the applicant and described how stakeholders (including students, staff, governors, parents, local neighbours, etc.) had been engaged to learn what was working well, what needed addressing and future aspirations. Informal breakout spaces, driveways with a pedestrian feel, buildings with mechanical ventilation facing North and South to avoid overheating and traffic noise, wildflower borders for biodiversity, grass amphitheatre, grab and go servery, and areas for summer clubs were all part of the plans.
Cllr Steve Forster spoke on behalf of his local area and was delighted to see this investment in secondary schooling and building on previous decisions taken by the County Council. The expansion of this fantastic school is an essential element and reflects the population growth in the area. The location and sustainability of the improvements are appreciated, and the engagement undertaken by the officers and school has been commendable. While very supportive of this planning application, Cllr Forster requested minor updates to the plan, suggesting video surveillance in the bicycle storage areas to prevent thefts currently taking place in the area.
In relation to external aspects about highway safety and access, Cllr Forster suggested reducing the speed to 20mph with flashing lights during pick up and drop off times and safer crossings. Pedestrian access from the north is via a very narrow footpath used by over 300 children in an area of severe risk. A bike path through the woods would encourage sustainable, environmentally friendly changes with children safely riding to school.
During questions of the deputation, the following points were confirmed:
In debate, Members agreed that the project architects and officers had produced an excellent development and commended their hard work. Members were happy to support the plans but also acknowledged and recognized the road safety concerns of the local councillor which could be raised through separate channels.
Planning permission was GRANTED subject to the conditions listed in integral appendix B.
Voting Favour - 16 (Unanimous)