Letter: Impact of school redevelopment

I am writing with regard to the proposed development at Millais School in Horsham.

The traffic congestion in Depot Road during school drop-off and collection times is already horrendous – the road is gridlocked and I have personally never seen any traffic enforcement staff policing the area.

I was therefore dismayed to learn of this two and a half year development.

Having attended the recent exhibition I do not believe that the existing proposal adequately addresses this issue.

There will be significant increase in traffic with tradesmen’s personal transport, huge plant vehicles and delivery lorries.

As the road is gridlocked at certain times I can only assume these extra vehicles will be arriving prior to the school run resulting in further disruption to residents.

I learnt that the existing ‘orchard’ area opposite the entrance to Danehurst Crescent is to be turned into a permanent car park, although the architect I spoke to could not guarantee this would accommodate all of the extra vehicles attending the site.

I suggested that they build a temporary road through the site connecting Depot Road to Highlands Road to at least keep the traffic flowing, but was advised that this was not an option.

I am not opposed to development and personally welcome and admire modern architecture.

However this scheme has no architectural merit and does not appear to make best use of the site.

I understand that a 1950s block may no longer adequately meet the needs of the school but believe that the existing plans have no regard for the impact of this development on local residents’ day to day lives.

An existing three storey block will be demolished – probably during the school holidays which is the only time residents have any respite from school traffic.

Again there was no information regarding the volume of vehicles that would be needed to remove the rubble, the times they would be attending and the duration of the actual demolition – or indeed any proposed temporary road closures.

I am not sure where the funding has come from to support this development but in hard economic times is it really appropriate?

In addition is demolishing one block and rebuilding two units going to adequately address the long term needs of the school?

In my view it’s the equivalent of sticking a plaster on a huge gaping wound.

Surely it would be better to sell the school for residential development and use the funds raised to build a new school in an area better served with access roads.

After all, judging by the volume of pupils that travel to the existing school by car it cannot be ideally placed for the majority that attend!

I will obviously be objecting to the planning application but wanted to alert others to the reality of what this scheme will entail.

V. MCLELLAN

Danehurst Crescent, Horsham