Jun 22 2013

Vaughan School Expansion: Before and After

mans_headGuest post by 4Democracy in response to the recent announcement that Vaughan School has secured permission for expansion:

The council has listened to its experts who have ‘modelled’ the effects of drainage and flood, this really doesn’t mean much. If there is truly no risk of flood then why are they putting sensors in the culvert, alarms in the school office, creating an evacuation plan etc…They haven’t needed any of these before

The “shipping-off” of school children was never a proposal. It was a question – that’s all. They were trying to explore alternative solutions that would suit everybody – something the council had failed to do.

“Fantastic outdoor sport and play area”. 10% less space for 210 more children and no natural surfaces. I don’t call that fantastic.

If the flooding events are going to be so rare (which no one can predict), then why have the drainage team sought a letter from the school acknowledging the flooding and why did Marcus Toombs in an email to Andrew Griffin say “The drainage department have asked for a letter that the areas are liable to flooding and that this may be on a more regular basis than once in a 100 years. This is to stop claims in future years when these areas flood”

“More regular than once in a 100 years”..Mmm I wonder what that means?

Of course the field floods. That is the whole point – it is a ‘natural’ flood plain. You can try to play around with that but you certainly cannot improve on it.

Option 1 actually fits the bill. It is almost identical to the existing build, which has worked well for the past 50+ years – and has made Vaughan School the exceptional school which people went to great lengths to tell everyone. The admin block would be placed near the front gate for security reasons.

As for ‘hugely disruptive’, I am not sure how you come to that conclusion. Yes, temporary classrooms would need to be built on the fields but these are clean light well ventilated buildings which is much better than the mouse infested rotting buildings which they are currently taught in. They are not World War 2 Nissan huts they are temporary classrooms – ‘temporary’ does not mean sub standard ! In fact my own son spent 2 years in temporary accommodation doing his GCSE’s when Whitmore was being re-built and it had no effect on his results. ….And do you think that the current plan will not be disruptive? Well I think you are burying your head in the sand. As we know, they have to put the flood compensation in before they start to build so which playground are they going to have to dig up ?

I find what you say about conservative councillors “not appreciating that the school needs to expand” quite offensive. Of course they believed that, but they also believed in the rights and the freedoms of the nearby residents that are going to be affected by this and have to live with it day in day out for the rest of their lives (unless they choose to move, but who would want to buy their houses ). The Conservative councillors were the only ones who’s agenda was to balance the needs of everyone involved in this project and not just the selfishness of the school, and seemingly it’s supporters.

They were also the only ones who seemed to be paying attention during the debate and asked pertinent questions, unlike labour who looked disinterested, asked no questions and a chairman who was looking at his watch so intently, (so that he ‘banged his gong’ in the right place), that he couldn’t possibly have been concentrating on any of the speeches.

Finally, with regards to encroachment and privacy, can you really say that if this was your back garden you would be so welcoming of the plans?


4Democracy – A Harrow resident

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  1. Local resident

    Absolutely true that Labour Chairman did not pay any attention what so ever apart from looking at his watch to press the gong. In my view it was ignorance and chairmen approach choose apathetic decision towards such a serious decision for Vaughan School development.

  2. Harrow resident

    I totally agree with the comments made by my fellow resident, as I was present at the meeting with my wife. During the entire proceedings, the conservative councillors alone were asking relevant questions requesting justification of the proposed option for expansion. It was quite clear that the labour councillors and the chairman were just going through the motions and had already made their minds up for the final vote. In fact there was no attempt from them to provide proper justification in breaking local and national policies to bulldozer this plan through. If local councils are able to breach their own policies and standards, then what hope do we hold for the future of our democracy. Why on earth were government policies introduced in order to avoid building on floodplains? And yet the decision is made to build on the only natural floodplain within the school grounds and introduce a flood evacuation policy, when there was no need for one up until now. The mention of such measures should have sent alarm bells ringing amongst parents/residents who were signing petitions to support the proposal. Unfortunately ignorance of facts and breach of policy are more appropriate at this time and having a split vote at the planning meeting provides conclusive evidence that the granted option is flawed and has a number of serious unresolved issues.

  3. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    @ Paul – where are all the trees that stand in the way of looking at that building? Have they been airbrushed out? Coz they certainly haven’t been chopped down!

  4. Cllr Willy Stoodley

    @4democracy – don’t judge others by yourself – just because you are unable to look and concentrate at the same time does not mean that others can’t!

    If anyone knows ow time a speach without looking at a stopwatch could they let me know please?!

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