Major York school expansion set for green light – to the anger of many residents
Plans for a top York school to expand are set to be approved – but neighbours are not happy about the impact on traffic.
Residents in nearby streets hoped Fulford School’s plans to build a new teaching block and access route into the school would rid their roads of traffic from buses and cars taking pupils to and from the site.
But the proposals will see buses enter the school from the existing route in Fulfordgate and exit through the new Germany Beck development – with residents in both areas criticising the plans.
Fulford Parish Council has objected, saying residents in Fulfordgate are unhappy because they were promised that the entrance route to the school would be moved to the Germany Beck development in the south.
And they say Germany Beck residents are concerned to discover that school buses will leave the site via the development, adding that many fear parents will also drop off children on busy roads near their homes.
York Civic Trust has also criticised the plans, saying traffic problems will be made worse thanks to the 20 per cent increase in pupil numbers.
‘An accident waiting to happen’
Neighbours have requested a public inquiry into the expansion of Fulford School.
They say: “There has already been significant expansion to this school, and [it] has resulted in significant vehicular traffic to the school.
“It has resulted in damage to housing structures in Fulfordgate as well as traffic hold ups and safety issues with pupils.”
One resident said: “Eighteen buses in an out of the school twice a day cause significant noise, air pollution anddisruption to the local neighbourhood. From a safety perspective it is an accident waiting to happen.
“Fulfordgate, Eastward Avenue, and Heslington Lane become gridlocked and this has a knock-on effect in the village.”
A couple wrote “to express our anger and dismay at the ineptitude, lack of joined-up thinking and lack of planning foresight that York’s local government has exhibited over the last 15 or so years in its failure to deliver access arrangements for the school that are not detrimental to adjoining residential areas and the overall well-being and good planning of Fulford”.
Three extra buses
City of York Council’s highways team says the rise in student numbers mean three extra school buses will run.
They say the new route will allow buses to enter by Fulfordgate and leave by Porter Avenue, which is 6.5 metres wide.
“The intention is that the outbound queue of buses is towards the signalised junction away from the main residential areas and removing the left turn out over sailing of both lanes on Heslington Lane,” they say in a report for the council’s planning committee.
The council’s planning team say the application should be approved, adding that the benefits of the new school buildings and access route outweigh the harms – which include cutting down around 15 trees and the impact of the new two storey teaching block on views.
They say: “The proposed development is not considered to have a significant impact on the surrounding road network.”
The council agreed to put £6.5 million towards expanding Fulford School to enable it to take in 300 more pupils a year.
The planning meeting takes place on Thursday.