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Bromley Lib Dems are opposed to the proposed new school on Westmoreland Road

Detailed proposals have been submitted to Bromley Council for a 1260 place secondary school due to open in 2019 and located on the busy junction of Westmoreland Road and Masons Hill by Bromley South station. The Bromley Liberal Democrats recognise the desperate shortage of secondary school places in the Borough (34 additional forms of entry are needed by 2022) and support the concept of this school which will specialise in science, health and wellbeing (SHaW). However, having reviewed the planning documents and consulted with local residents, we cannot support it in this location. It is a tiny footprint for such a large school necessitating a 10-storey building with no playing fields and very limited outside space and is on an already congested and therefore polluted junction. Local transport links are already at capacity at peak times even before completion of the new St Marks' Square Development and other high density developments planned for this area; the current school proposals wildly underestimate the likely impact of the school on transport and congestion in this already busy area and therefore make insufficient proposals to mitigate such issues. You can sign our petition in opposition of this school proposal here.

A development of this site for a school of this scale must be accompanied by comprehensive local transport improvements, something Bromley Council has for years failed to adequately address, including:

  • redevelopment of the neighbouring junctions to ease traffic;
  • the inclusion of segregated cycleways to encourage cycling;
  • the widening of pavements for pedestrian access around the school and the St Marks' Square development to allow for the increased footfall and to accommodate the much larger number of people waiting at bus stops at peak times;
  • a review of current bus capacity; and
  • improvements to Bromley South station to ease platform congestion such as widening of platforms and additional entrances and exits to the station (e.g. from Kentish Way or Elmfield Road).

The SHaW Academy proposal further highlights a wider issue caused by the Conservative Government's policy of centralising decisions about type and location of schools by taking them out of the hands of local authorities and leaving the decision to the national Education Funding Association. Local power over school provision has been reduced to planning committees that can be subject to national appeal overriding local concerns.

The planning application hearing by Bromley Council's Development Control Committee has been postponed for a second time but, once the date is finalised, the Bromley Liberal Democrats will be present to ensure the concerns of residents and commuters are heard. We are actively out knocking on doors in the local area to gather residents' views but we'd love to hear from residents across the Borough about this development: please tell us your views by completing this survey