New school on playing fields and one-way traffic scheme approved

April 14 2016

PLANNERS have given the go-ahead for new buildings for Chester Park Junior School on the Ridgeway Road playing fields in spite of neighbours’ concerns.

PLANNERS have given the go-ahead for new buildings for Chester Park Junior School on the Ridgeway Road playing fields in spite of neighbours’ concerns.
The creation of the 360-place school off Abingdon Road will require making Abingdon Road and Honiton Road one-way, which will mean some residents have a 600 metre round trip to get to their homes.
Planning officers said the road changes would be needed to make the area safe for the extra numbers of children and parents going to and from school by car.
They also said safety improvements would have to be made to the Lodge Causeway and Ridgeway Road junction.
The school is needed to cope with increased demand for primary places. It will allow Chester Park Infant School, which will take over the whole of the existing schools site, to expand to take in 90 children a year instead of 75, while the junior school’s annual intake will grow from 60 to 90.
Bristol City Council’s development control committee voted unanimously on March 16 to approve the plans for the two-storey L-shaped school, to provide 12 classrooms, a hall, staff room and facilities for food, science, design and technology and art.
Councillors expressed concern that the proposed building was somewhat “cheerless” and suggested that a public art project should be encouraged to “jazz it up a bit”.
Andrea Russel-Davies, of Mayfield Park, told the councillors they had not taken enough notice of the impact the additional traffic would have on surrounding streets and suggested they consider another entrance to the site.
The committee heard that 82 individual objections had been received, as well as 11 identical letters with separate addresses.
Alison Cross, of Abingdon Road, who has been helping organise opposition, was at the meeting. She said afterwards that residents were not against the school but felt the public open space was the wrong place for it when there were several brownfield sites close by that could have been used.
She said school traffic already made life difficult for residents and would be worse with the traffic curbs that were proposed.
“We’re being asked to accept major, permanent changes to our streets just to accommodate school traffic movements which occur for a small fraction of school days only,” she said.
The restrictions, which will include speed bumps, will require Traffic Regulation Orders, which will provide residents with another chance to make their views known.
The school will be built for the council by Skanska.

School is a pioneer of  ‘active travel’

CHESTER Park Junior School is leading the way in encouraging its pupils to walk, scoot or cycle to school.
It is one of the first in the city to complete the first stage of a city council programme called Mode Shift Stars, which supports active travel to and from school.
The proportion of pupils coming to school is at 37 per cent, compared with a citywide average of 27 per cent, and up from 29 per cent in 2009. But the school has beefed up its School Travel Plan to try to reduce that figure.
Organiser Tracey Ellis said: “We have been presented with the Bronze Mode Shift Award to recognise the work we do as a school to encourage our children to travel to school actively.  We are only one of two schools in Bristol to have been awarded this and are very proud of this achievement.”
The presentation took place at an Active Travel Day, which included fun events such as a Bike for Beans Breakfast, a bike art workshop, a smoothie bike and scooter skills workshops.