The Battersea Society: Planning Committee submission Welcome to the Battersea Society website 

Planning Committee Submission

Submission to Wandsworth Borough Council
Added on: 16 October 2020 at 10:44:45

Thomas’s School - 2020/3115

We are grateful to Thomas’s for including the Battersea Society in their consultation discussions and are largely supportive of the proposal but would like further work to be carried out to ensure that the increased number of users of the site does not have an adverse impact on residents and businesses in the surrounding area.  

In terms of the proposal to open a secondary school on the site, we welcome Thomas’s commitment to Battersea and the proposal to maintain the Royal Academy of Dance site as an educational establishment with the benefits that will bring to the economy of the shops and cafes within the immediate vicinity of Battersea Square. The retention and reuse of the older buildings within the Battersea Square Conservation Area is also welcome.  

The Society’s objections at this stage relate to the lack of a convincing Transport Management Plan for what is already a congested area of Battersea at peak times. We do not consider this necessarily to be an insoluble problem - we acknowledge that Thomas’s has experience of managing transport around a number of their sites, including the existing preparatory school on Battersea High Street. It is welcome that Thomas’s are considering using the entrances around Battersea High Street for the majority of arrivals, rather than the poorly positioned Royal Academy of Dance gateway. However given that the majority of staff and pupils will not be coming from the immediate local area, and the school week will involve pupils travelling between the Battersea Square site and Putney Vale, it is inevitable there will be an increased impact which at the moment feels too easily dismissed by the supporting studies. A relatively small section of the Transport Assessment covers the management of the increased numbers of pupils and teachers. It is clear from objections that this is causing local concern.  It would be helpful if clearer information were posted on the application website. 

In order to assure local residents and businesses of the steps that will be taken to preserve their amenity, the Council should make a realistic and detailed Travel Management Plan a condition for approval. In particular it should include:

  • further reducing the number of commuters to the area by car for both school sites; 

  • preventing vehicles from waiting/ loading/ unloading on Vicarage Crescent; 

  • preventing the blocking of the entrance to Valiant House by cars pulling into the driveway opposite the school's entrance; 

  • avoiding the need for staff parking in busy streets around the site;

  • ensuring the Thames river path remains safe for pedestrians with increased numbers of cyclists; 

  • managing bus capacity in the area avoiding overcrowding on those routes already noted as congested at peak times; and

  • improving the local air quality by ensuring the bus fleet is as environmentally friendly as possible.

Given the proposed use of the 170 bus route for Thomas’s pupils, a zebra crossing to facilitate crossing between the Vicarage Crescent northbound bus stop and the proposed school site seems essential. 

More generally, it would be welcome if the development of a larger, fifth school in this neighbourhood could be a catalyst for a well thought through traffic management plan for the wider area as a whole given the increase in residential development around York Road and Lombard Road, concerns about over-crowding at Clapham Junction, and the recent spate of accidents and speeding through the Battersea Square Conservation Area between Lombard Road and Battersea Church Road. 

You can see full details of this application and other comments, or to make your own views known by copying 2020/3115 and pasting it into the box you will find here