New school planned for Old Vicarage

Grove Park residents group concerned over further congestion

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A group of Grove Park residents have come together to voice their concerns over plans to turn an old vicarage into a private day school.

The Old Vicarage, situated on Sutton Lane South (on the corner of Elmwood Road) was at one time the Vicarage for St Michael's Church on Elmwood.  Currently a single residential dwelling, the property was for sale through a Chiswick estate agent for seven months with very little interest. 

Dynamite Educational Publishers, trading as Tic Toc Day Nursery and Heathfield House School, are looking to develop their day nursery and school provision.  Currently offering day nursery care for children aged three months to five years and schooling for children aged four to seven, their Heathfield Terrace premises are now at capacity. Therefore, the company has been actively seeking further premises over the past year to enable them to offer private schooling for children up to the age of 11. In addition to the normal 8.45 to 3.30pm school hours, the school will also offer a club for before and after school care from 8.00am to 6.00pm, 51 weeks of the year (excluding bank holidays).

Dynamite Educational Publishers are the only party to make an offer for the Old Vicarage and have exchanged contracts with the vendors. However, they will only acquire the premises should their planning application to change its use from residential to D1 be successful.  The planning application, submitted to Hounslow Council on 23rd August 2005, is for a single form entry school for children aged up to 11.  At full capacity, the school will eventually house 107 pupils and 14 staff. 

The company states that they will look to 'encourage a sustainable approach to travel management' i.e. organise walking bus scheme, staff to oversee pick up and drop off time but one local resident voiced his concerns saying, "An influx of parent and staff cars will further strangle surrounding roads, at the busiest and most dangerous times of the day, in an area already a commuter rat run." 

The contentious CPZ issue also reared its head as parking is already a problem in this and surrounding roads.  Now that the CPZ is set to be rejected, Sutton Lane South, Elmwood Road, Fauconberg Road, Hazeldene Road and Gordon Road will bear the brunt of the additional parking only exacerbated by the Porsche Garage who seemingly use this area as an unofficial car park.

The residents group also felt the area is already well served by private schools, with the Falcons School (for boys up to eight) a hundred yards away from the proposed new facility. There are also 3 local state schools, Grove Park, Cavendish and Strand on the Green that serve local needs. 

However, others feel that there is a need for a mixed private facility.  One resident told us "We live in the Grove Park area and like many people in the area we are concerned about the traffic and congestion generated by the school run. Which is why, when we were looking for a school for our daughter, our preferred option was to find a local school that was in walking distance or could easily be travelled to on public transport. There were no schools in the Grove Park area that provided private mixed primary education so we chose to send our daughter to Heathfield House School in the centre of Chiswick. We welcome the school’s proposed expansion to Grove Park as it would offer a service that is currently lacking."

He went on to say "One of the many aspects of Heathfield House School that has impressed us since our daughter started has been their concern for local residences. Heathfield House School has commission a traffic specialist to look at ways of alleviating traffic issues. Visiting the current site at 3.30pm you may be surprised to see the majority of children leaving on foot. It would be worth "us" Grove Park residents lobbying the other schools in the area to adopt a similar responsible attitude to school traffic."

Comments should be sent to the Borough Planning Officer Michael Jordan Email:planningcomments@hounslow.gov.uk.  Please include your name and address on comments so that the council are able to respond.

The plans of the proposed school can be viewed at Chiswick Library.

September 19, 2005