Last week, I said the two houses proposed on Friars Walk will be almost impossible to build without considerable disruption to the community.
South Planning Committee documents released on Thurday show that Shropshire Council is considering delivering materials to the site and removing waste through St Laurence’s CoE School. If this astonishing idea is adopted, deliveries of materials and removal of waste will need to take place out of school hours, creating considerable disruption to residents of Jockey Field.
I am not against this development in principle but I am growing more and more doubtful that it can be constructed without unacceptable disruption to neighbouring properties, including the school.
The idea of construction materials for this site being delivered through St Laurence’s School emerge in emerged in a planning document published late on Thursday. This notes that the planning application will be approved, “subject to officers agreement of a suitable construction management plan before decision issued and investigation into whether access is possible via school with deliveries being made outside of school hours.”
The good news is that there will be a construction management plan for the site before any planning approval. But the idea that the school should be an access route for the site contractors is crazy.
I don’t see how trusses, bricks and concrete can be delivered via the school grounds. It would probably require the construction of an access road west of the school and across gardens.
Extracurricular activities and after hours meetings mean that school buildings are often in use until the late afternoon or early evening. That will mean that construction traffic is likely to be trying to access the site after 5.30pm. This will clash with the standard planning condition that construction activities must cease by this time to reduce disturbance to residents. The same applies to weekends. Construction is only allowed on Saturday morning.
This planning application will not now go the South Planning Committee, despite my request and opposition to the scheme from Ludlow Town Council and residents. Controversial developments like this should be made in public by democratically elected members, not by officers behind closed doors.
It strikes me that Shropshire Council is trying to get these houses through at any cost to the local community. If this had been an essential development, an expansion of the school for example, I would have supported it. If it had been affordable housing, I think the result could have been worth the disruption. But this is two market homes constructed for profit without a single penny being paid towards affordable housing.
Update 26 March 2017
I have spoken to the headmaster of St Laurence’s School. He says that any access through the school will not be allowed. Even out of hours access would raise security and safeguarding issues. It would also require caretaking staff to be on site for extended hours. Access to the proposed housing site would also be impractical due to the gradients of the land.
The headmaster adds that Friars Walk should not be closed to enable development. One third of the school’s parents use that entrance. Other access points to the school would be overcrowded if the Friars Walk entrance was closed.