Cranmere Primary School expansion plan passed, despite continued concerns

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Cranmere Primary School is one step closer to its expansion after councillors agreed to parking provisions at the site.

Plans for the site were accepted by members of Surrey County Council’s planning and regulatory committee in February, but the application was referred back to the committee for further work to parking and access.

At a meeting on Wednesday, April 23, two-thirds of the committee, eight members, agreed the application, despite some confusion surrounding whether any additional parking spaces had been created for staff.

Keith Taylor, chairman of the committee, clarified that the amendments brought forward did not include any additional parking for staff and still stood at 37, with additional spaces on the access road.

Despite small amendments, which included additional parking spaces on adjoining roads suitable for parent use and improvements to roads to facilitate pedestrian and cycle access to site, not all members of the committee were convinced.

Ernest Mallett, county councillor for West Molesey, said the amendments confirmed his “worst fear”.

He said: “We have a real responsibility for 70 to 100 years. Really we want something that works and something that will stand the test of time and something that will not cause massive problems in its operation.

“In the minutes from the last meeting, it says members did not feel the application was for the future. Frankly, that remains.”

But Mr Mallett said he recognised Elmbridge and Surrey urgently needed the expanded school but said the plans brought forward for parking were “just not going to work”.

David Archer, ward councillor for Esher, said: “Any minor tinkering is not going to make a difference. It is already a congested and dangerous area.

“We have to have more schools but what we don’t have to have is more schools at the expense of safety and the people who live in the area. It just needs planning and thinking through more.”

The new school will be able to provide 630 primary school places, with three-form entry, and the creation of a 26-place nursery.

The application, which is on greenbelt land, will now go to the Secretary of State for approval.

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