Feb 03 2015

Harrow Council Slapped Down by Opposition Over Grimsdkye Expansion

harrow_council_logoHarrow Council’s plans to expand Grimsdyke School in Hatch End will be sent back to Cabinet, after an influential scrutiny committee said it hadn’t done enough to address concerns over traffic. The Council’s plans have been greeted with hostility by local residents, who are worried about the impact on traffic of increasing the school’s capacity from 420 to 630 pupils.

At a meeting last night the Call-In Education Committee voted to uphold grounds submitted by the Council’s Conservative Group. Conservative Group Leader and Hatch End ward councillor Susan Hall presented the case for the call-in, and said: “Grimsdyke School is unique in that all traffic to and from it flows down one, already narrow, residential road. At the moment the traffic at school dropping- off and collection times can gridlock for up to half an hour, so residents are rightly worried about what will happen if another 100-150 cars start doing the school run. This isn’t just a matter of inconvenience; if an emergency vehicle needed to get through at these times the consequences would be disastrous.”

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]…there was insufficient evidence on which to make the [original] decision.[/pullquote]Cllr. Hall explained the call-in ground: “Because of the unique nature of its location and the roads around it, the traffic problems that will arise from expanding Grimsdyke are quite specific. Cabinet made the decision to expand with only generic traffic solutions being proposed, but ‘one size fits all’ options simply won’t work with this school. My hope is that the Council’s Labour administration takes a proper look at the arguments we and the residents have made, recognise that the traffic mitigation plans are not good enough, and reconsider approving the expansion of Grimsdyke.”

Cllr. Hall concluded: “Everyone in Harrow recognises the need for more school places, and Grimsdyke is an excellent school so it’s no surprise parents want their children to go there. However, that does not mean every school we have must automatically expand if the individual circumstances aren’t right, and with Grimsdyke that is very much the case.”

The Call-In Education Committee agreed with the ground that there was insufficient evidence on which to make the decision – based on the lack of traffic mitigation plans. The voting was split: the Labour members voted not to call in the decision, the Conservatives and the Independent members voted to do as such. Cabinet will need to reconsider the decision within 10 working days, and can proceed with the original decision, amend or delay it.

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