‘Shambolic’ plan to expand school slammed by council

Northgate Primary School
Northgate Primary School

An application to expand Northgate Primary School has been slammed as “shambolic”.

The application from West Sussex County Council would see the addition of single and two-storey extensions at the school in Green Lane, allowing it to take 90 pupils per year rather than 60.

In addition, the unused caretaker’s house would be demolished to make room for extra parking, the temporary nursery buildings would be made permanent and a zebra crossing would be installed on Barnfield Road.

While the county council is the applicant and will therefore have the final say, Crawley Borough Council was given the opportunity to comment as a consultee.

As such, the application was put before a meeting of the borough planning committee on June 13 – and members sent a firm objection to their county colleagues.

The school stands on the junction of Green Lane and Hollybush Road where traffic congestion has long been an issue. Residents and councillors raised concerns expansion would exacerbate that problem.

The suggestion that a ‘park and stride’ area be set up at Woodfield Road playing fields – where parents could park up and then walk their children to school – was dismissed as “ridiculous”.

Another issue was the application itself. Councillors were not impressed with the quality of information they had been given relating to pupil numbers, traffic and road safety.

While the application said most children at the school would live in Northgate and therefore walk to school, the committee was not convinced. Brenda Burgess (Con/ Three Bridges) pointed out children would be sent to the school from all over Crawley, meaning there would be more traffic.

Andrew Skudder (Lab/Langley Green) said of the application: “It’s shambolic. The crossing is in two different places on two drawings. We’re not being given proper information anywhere.”

Francis Guidera (Con/ Tilgate) added: “Maybe we should let the kids do the traffic planning because I think they would do a better job of it. Everything about this is bad.”

Peter Smith (Lab/Ifield) said: “This committee needs to stand up for Crawley and Crawley residents, and we send an objection on highways grounds saying we cannot possibly conceive how this can work without adding to congestion.”

To view the application, log on to the county council website .

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