Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Carmaggedon fears as Thurrock primary schools gets green light to expand

PARENTS have been urged to “get out of their cars and walk with their kids” in the wake of a successful planning application that will see a Thurrock primary school expand.

At last week’s meeting of Thurrock Council’s planning committee members debated a proposal put forward by Thameside Primary Academy in Grays to increase the school – formed as an amalgamation of Thameside Infant and Junior Schools in 2012 – to one with four forms in each year rather than the current three.

While almost everyone expressed approval for the plan in principle, many concerns were raised about the problem of additional traffic at the school, which sits in a residential area.

Ward councillor Cathy Kent addressed the meeting to highlight those concerns, saying: “My only objection is regarding the amount of traffic, I want to be sure we have looked at the traffic flow. The neighbouring homes don’t have garages, their cars are parked in the street and existing traffic measures are already not working.

“I have had lots of expression of concerns from local residents. They are pleased that the school is doing well and they are proud of it but they do not want a child to have an accident.”

Cllr Kent asked the meeting if it would be possible to engage with parents and have some form of traffic patrol, like that currently in operation on a voluntary basis at Tilbury Pioneer Academy.

Her and the residents’ fears were replicated by councillors on the committee.

Cllr Tunde Ojetola said: “To me it’s back to the same old thing. We are aware of the projections and need to improve the number of school places but we have to be concerned about access and traffic.”

Committee chair Cllr Terry Hipsey agreed and called on parents to take a pro-active stance, saying: “We need to get kiddies out of the car and maybe educate parents to walk with their children. That has got to be a good thing.

“My message to parents is get out of your car and have a bit of exercise.”

The application, which will see an extension of the school building and the creation of four new classrooms, was approved – as was a separate application to have a temporary classroom on the site for up to 18 months.

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