Neighbours raise concern about Winnersh school siteBy Jon Nurse
February 14, 2013
Warnings of ‘excruciating’ motorway noise and dangerous traffic were issued when council officers faced a tirade of questions over the new Winnersh primary school.
Neighbours of the proposed Winnersh Farm site were told there was no perfect solution to locating a school in the village at a meeting at The Forest School on Monday.
Fears were raised over traffic, parking, noise pollution and setting a precedent for future development as officers tackled two hours of questions from concerned residents and parents.
Piers Brunning, infrastructure development manager for Wokingham Borough Council’s children’s services, said: “Winnersh Farm is not without problems, we admit that. It’s closer than we would like to the motorway, but it ticks all the boxes from an environmental health point of view.
“Everything points to this being the best we are going to get for this area.”
John Graham, 60, of Winnersh Gate, said: “I’m a dog walker who is out in the mornings and evenings near the site and the noise from the M4 is horrendous. It can be excruciating.
“I can’t believe they would want to expose children to that sort of noise.”
Mr Brunning replied: “I don’t like that aspect of the site but inside the building it won’t be an issue.”
Property services manager Rodney Hing said a noise assessment had been carried out but hadn’t given a fair result because of wind, and another test was being completed.
A substantial amount of the meeting was spent dealing with traffic safety concerns, with groans of disapproval coming from the floor as the results of a survey were presented, which claimed the school at a full capacity of 210 pupils would only cause 81 traffic movements from parents in each school run.
Residents warned of inevitable traffic build up along Woodward Close and pointed to the danger at a blind bend near the Winnersh Royal British Legion club.
Travel consultant Clive Patmore assured residents there was no record of personal injury in any accidents on the bend and drivers would know the road well and drive sensibly.
One woman warned Woodward Close was used by pedestrians and cyclists going to and from the nearby Forest, Emmbrook and Holt schools and was an accident waiting to happen.
Winnersh Emmbrook Residents’ Action Group has warned the proposed site is often waterlogged and members challenged the council again.
Mr Hing refuted this, explaining the saturation was only in the top 250mm of soil, owing to a level of clay below.
Families also shared fears building on the site could open the door for Taylor Wimpey to build on neighbouring land.
David Symmons, 59, of Woodward Close, said: “From what you say about Taylor Wimpey possibly coming in it occurs to me if you put it [a school] in you are encouraging them.
“A better situation would be to let the development come in so they must put a school in.”
Residents have until Wednesday, February 20, to comment on the application, at www.wokingham.gov.uk/planning, after the consultation was extended.