Plan for new riverside school meets opposition

Proposed Pier House School causes discontent amongst some Strand on the Green residents

Riverbank development is causing further unrest, this time in Strand on the Green as Hounslow Council’s Planning Department begins a consultation with local residents. The planning application in question seeks to convert The Pier House into a preparatory school for up to 420 boys and girls aged 5-13 years.

Situated in one of Chiswick’s most picturesque settings, the recently refurbished Pier House currently houses the IMG Business Centre (see picture left). If the application is successful it would transfer the building’s use from business to educational. Alpha Plus, the group who run Falcons Schools, are proposing to launch the new school in September 2004.

However, some local residents are extremely concerned over a number of issues a new school would bring, the most apparent being health and road safety.

The Pier House is situated within the Strand on The Green Conservation area on a narrow stretch of road, close to the North side of Kew Bridge. Traffic is already heavy and cars park on both sides of the road. Parents dropping off and picking up, albeit only twice a day, may only serve to intensify existing problems and create greater safety issues. Results from a review of safety of Thames Road/Strand on the Green, conducted at the time of the proposed 272 bus route extension, are still unpublished despite being promised in February 2002 by LBH. Alpha Plus have commissioned their own Transport Assessment to accompany the planning application.

The new school proposes to use 50 seat coaches to transport children to and from sporting activities in Dukes Meadows in addition to the smaller ones proposed to bus a number of children to and from school at each end of the day.

In addition to traffic and safety issues outside the school, certain residents have voiced discontent with regard to the noise school children make during recreation time. It is proposed that of the 45 existing parking spaces on the premises, approximately 25 will be made into a recreation area. Bearing mind that they will be anything up to 420 children, playtimes would have to be staggered meaning that playtime noise could be prolonged for those closest by.

At present, Strand on the Green has one state primary school for 350 pupils situated on the same stretch of road and, like most Chiswick schools, not only has its share of traffic problems, but it is regularly over-subscribed. Schools in the private sector in Chiswick also generally have long waiting lists so many local parents will welcome the proposed new option as an alternative to educating their children outside the area.

If you would like to voice your opinion with regard to this application, please contact
Ian Draper – Case Officer (01076/J/P18)
Head of Development Control
Environmental Services Department
London Borough of Hounslow
The Civic Centre
Lampton Road
Hounslow TW3 4DN

Deadline for representation to the Council was Tuesday June 3 2003 although it may be that submissions after this date will be considered

June 3, 2003

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