Not remotely close to the Camden Town earthquake described by Charles Dickens in Dombey and Son but one way or another, the rumblings caused by the coming of the schools to Osterley continue to be felt.
The latest wee spat is the yellow lining debacle of Wood Lane, more on that in a bit but first some reminding context.
The Mary McCleod Memorial Academy on Wood Lane is now up and being clad, due to open in a year’s time.
Digging on another part of the site for the £9 million minority sports complex has, these past days, literally caused a stink and rumours of more gruesome finds to add to the earlier commotion caused by the removal of ancient hedgerow and trees on Syon Lane.
A couple of weeks ago, approval was given to what someone described as a “delightful” looking building but what many would confirm as another bland box to become the Bolder (might as well call it the Bona) Academy. Why not pay homage to its location? Doesn’t Osterley deserve a name check with all that has been foisted?
Very few people have difficulty in accepting the new Osterley Comprehensive locating on the former United Biscuits sports ground on Macfarlane Lane; hardly touching the green stuff. Uniquely, in these parts, it will not select pupils based on religions, will accept from both gender and likely not to live as far away as those attending St Mary’s.
With some major planning applications, plenty expertise is often developed by ordinary people who at some point are likely to be affected by the ultimate decision. One common thread in all these (costly) free school applications is how the pupils will be delivered and despatched either side of the school day. The key theme in scrutiny of recent and upcoming (Green School for Boys) planning were and will be traffic impacts and should another school receive approval, there will be five schools, each with over 1,000 students within a mile and a half radius of each other.
The problem that is most likely to occur before very long is that with a local public transport accessibility level of almost zero, there will be more than a temptation to bring children to the schools by car via the already congested Syon Lane and Gillette Corner.
In planning terms there’s always mitigation, soft in most cases. School travel plans are often cited as a salve but as can be seen from the June 2017 Nishkam School West London Travel Plan, 75% of their scholars are taken by car. Travel plans often look good on paper, not able to foresee the future but appear to tick planning boxes. In reality, there is no substitute for spending money on infrastructure but this has been scant in Osterley despite the recent demands for its open space.
When the Bolder omies punted their building proposals at the Osterley and Wyke Green Residents Association’s open meeting in December 2016, attended by the leader of the council and the head of planning, a second route from Harlequin Avenue via Great West Road was included, understood and appreciated. Despite later citing Grant Way, by the time it hit planning, the only access to the school site would be from Macfarlane Lane via the already and soon to be more strained Syon Lane. The scheme’s architect gave a less than convincing and more than half assed reason as to why the much diminished route would be optimal.
So, what about the Wood Lane yellow lines that appeared with no warning on 4 August 2017? It. Was. Not. Hounslow. Council.
The pooch was actually screwed by the government quango, the Education and Skills Funding Agency contractor, BAM and installed without any local arrangement or discussion with the council. After the event, BAM’s Nishkam School project manager wrote, “I’m sorry for the trouble this has caused you and hopefully it can be fully resolved through the consultation” or in other words, “we messed up, you sort it out”.
The council’s traffic team were prepared to consult on yellow lines for Wood Lane largely due to recent haphazard parking on this narrow width and paved road, reported by residents but BAM stole their bluster.
Proper consultation will shortly take place on this proposal and until this is complete [to avoid damage to the road] the lines will not be touched but neither will they be enforceable. Residents are encouraged to respond and alternative suggestions will be considered.