Friday, 29 January 2010

Arden School loses classroom bid

ARDEN School has lost its bid to keep temporary classrooms on Station Road for another two years.

Permission given in 2008 said the three blocks by Arden in Station Road must go by April.

But the school said it needed the buildings for subjects not catered for within the new sixth form building, completed in October. It wanted permission to December 31 2011.

Yet Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee threw out the bid on Wednesday night after being presented with residents’ objections.

This went against the advice of a council planning officer who said: “The school have identified a teaching requirement for the retention of the temporary classrooms.”

The report says the buildings “do not respect the prevailing architecture” of the area but are common in schools.

They are also “located far enough into the site from Station Road (13m) so as not to appear overly prominent within the street scene”.

Some 36 letters and email opposed the plan, mostly over the affect the “eyesore” blocks had on the street and houses.

They said the blocks had been there for nearly 10 years and had failed to abide by conditions from the 2008 permission.

A bid to create a public footpath from Milverton Road to Station road was withdrawn.

A report says the route is “believed to be a right of way” by residents.

Access from Milverton Road was closed during construction of the new sixth form in 2008, leading to claims of rights of way, it adds. See the proposed map here.

Yet the planning officer urged members to reject the plan.

They said while “significant usage of the school grounds has been evidenced” this was “not sufficient to demonstrate a presumption to dedicate a public footpath”.

It said: “It can not be shown with any certainty that it was the intention of the landowner to dedicate a way running across the grounds of Arden school as a public footpath”.

It said: “Consequently the required tests that need to be attained under Common Law have not been met”.

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