Parking and feud fears over Walsall school expansion plans
Neighbours of a primary school fear a new teaching block to increase pupil numbers will result in “confrontations” between residents and parents.
Manor Primary School, in Briar Avenue, Streetly, has put forward a proposal to create a new block featuring two classrooms, toilets, storage space along with a bigger all-weather sports pitch to replace its current facility.
It is part of the school’s plans to create 60 pupil places in addition to the current 370 on the roll over the next four years to meet demand.
This follows Manor Primary being granted permission to build a new classroom last year which helped accommodate 30 more children in September 2019.
But the new proposal has provoked strong opposition from residents with two petitions carrying more than 130 signatures on them and around 30 letters of objection being sent to the authority.
A report to Walsall Council’s planning committee said the grounds for their objections included “anti-social behaviour of parents” and “confrontation between residents and parents”.
Officers said that these were not material planning considerations and added any confrontations or anti-social behaviour would be matters for the police.
The biggest objection to the proposal related to highways and traffic issues such as an increase in traffic coming to and from the school, cars blocking driveways, double parking, parking on yellow lines and the lack of a direct bus route.
But officers said the school has recently increased its car park to 37 spaces, after demolishing a disused caretaker’s house, to accommodate predicted increases in staff.
They also believe the development will result in only a “modest” increase in traffic to and from Manor Primary.
Sport England also objected to the proposal on the basis that the school had not demonstrated that the size of existing mini-football pitches would not be affected by the proposal.
The report to committee said: “The single-storey teaching block would create a further two classrooms for teaching purposes.
“The Black Country Core Strategy supports the enhancement of existing educational facilities.
“In this case, the proposed teaching block would accommodate an extra 60 pupils over a five year period with the increase in pupil numbers being phased with an extra 15 children joining each September.
“The school has the capacity to teach extra numbers children and as such the additional facilities should be supported.”
The application is set to be discussed by Walsall Council’s planning committee on Thursday with officers recommended to grant delegated authority to officers to grant permission subject to conditions and Sport England’s objections being overcome.