'Carmageddon' protest against Solihull school expansion - The Solihull Observer

'Carmageddon' protest against Solihull school expansion

Solihull Editorial 9th Jul, 2019 Updated: 9th Jul, 2019   0

A CAMPAIGN has stepped up to prevent the expansion of a Solihull primary school over residents’ traffic concerns – dubbed ‘Carmageddon’.

St. Augustine’s Catholic Primary School and nursery in Whitefields Road near Solihull town centre is set to expand by 236 places.

And Whitefield Road resident Roger Fitton says the street has become ‘an intolerable place to live’ in the last 10 years.

He says the road is surrounded by four schools, creating congestion, parking and road safety issues.

He is calling on the council to build a new school instead, near newer housing developments.

A petition on campaigns group 38 Degrees, started by Mr Fitton, has gained 259 signatures – many of them from parents at St. Augustine’s.

Under the council’s proposals, the school would expand to a capacity of 420 pupils (60 in each year group) and remain with 26 part-time nursery places by September 2020.

Mr Fitton says: “I urge you (the council) to ensure that the proposal is rejected unanimously and, further, to consider reinstating some quality of life to the local residents.

“This problem is one of danger to children from being hit by a car or breathing petrol fumes, daily Inconvenience, delay and frustration, ongoing rage within the community and among parents, endless flouting of parking restrictions, crazy motoring manoeuvres and a major risk of delay to emergency services.

“We demand common sense, some thinking, and some respect in this decision.”

He branded the situation ‘Carmageddon’ in a a letter to MP Julian Knight, the school’s headteacher and more than 20 councillors.

He says residents feel ‘boxed in’ and doubling the number of cars travelling down the road during the school run could have catastrophic consequences.

A consultation on the plans ends on July 19 has run for more than a month already.

The consultation document states: “The school site can physically accommodate the additional accommodation required for the expansion and will be subject to all normal planning processes.

“St Augustine‚Äôs Catholic Primary School is over-subscribed by applications from families seeking a Catholic school place.

“The proposal to expand the school would provide 210 of the required places (an additional 30 per year) and will seek to meet the existing demand from Catholic families as well as the future requirement for primary Catholic school places from housing developments.

“The expansion will add one class per year over a seven year period.”

A spokesperson yesterday added: “We are aware of a petition in relation to this expansion however this has not formally been presented to the council.”

The petition and residents’ concerns are set to be heard at a full council meeting tonight (July 9).

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