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Planning Committee acknowledges the need for more Hounslow Schools
On Thursday 3rd December 2015, Hounslow Council's planning committee formally acknowledged the desperate need for more school places in the borough by approving the All-through Nishkam School to be located on the White Lodge grounds on Syon Lane.
After four and half hours of listening to presentations and in depth Q&A sessions, the 13 committee members voted 10 to 3, overwhelmingly in favour of passing this site as the new home for Nishkam School.
Of the nearly 500 plus of the school supporters who attended the evening, two local parent/resident members of GOO also spoke to put forward their personal observations and took the opportunity to thank over 900 of the local residents who had confirmed their support via signed letters.
It was stated by the GOO members and many times by the council planners also that there is a clear and present case for the need for new schools, as Hounslow has seen and continues to see an increase in its population.
The council's planning team detailed many aspects of their findings and summarised them well, including how the in-depth sequential site testing procedures ruled out nearly 200 sites, ultimately showing the White Lodge site to be the only one that suited the local demands for excellent all-through schooling for the borough.
- Exceptional circumstances were shown to exist
- Provision for Extensive Travel plan, greater than any other school in Hounslow
An increase in traffic to the area was acknowledged to occur by the planning team and they also explained in depth the extensive travel plan put forward by the proposal, which outlined the use of school buses over different routes, park & stride sites and staggered school start & finish times, and extensive local traffic calming measures.
The council also summarised their plans to widen the stretch of road outside the school and also the fact that guidance had been given by Historic England and would be followed by the proposal, on how to take into account and preserve any historic locations (eg. the ditch outside the site) on or around the site.
5 opposition supporters spoke against the planning application. Their claims included:
- A large amount of opposition support although only 30 or so of the group attended;
- That majority of children that will attend the school will be from outside the Borough, however ignored that 85% of current pupils live in Hounslow, and that 75% live within 3 miles
- That there were alternative sites available, but no appropriate alternative available sites were shared
- In their newsletter, that they are happy for another new school to be built in the area, however do not want NSWL