TONIGHT, Tuesday 9 June, Councillors on Tamworth Borough Councils planning committee voted 10 to 1 to defer making a decision for a block containing six new classrooms at Dosthill Primary Acadamy.
Councillors decided that there was a need for planning committee members, including councillors and council officials to see a video of the Dosthill site to fully appreciate what local residents have done to improve the bio-diversity in the area, including the construction of a ‘bug hotel’.
The concern raised by Councillors is around whether the developers can return the site to its current state once the access road has been removed.
Councillor Patrick Standen stated that he voted against the deferring of the decision as he feels that the decision should be made tonight as councillors have all the material they need.
The full planning application was for a single storey classroom block containing six new classrooms, temporary permission for a temporary ‘haul’ road from Rosebery Road and the erection of 2.4m fencing. The application also includes the demolition of the existing three timber classrooms.
The temporary permission for a haul road is to facilitate the construction traffic involved in the building of the new classroom block. The haul road will need to be removed once building work has finished and before the classrooms are occupied. The land beneath the temporary road will also have to be restored to its current state.
The application has received 256 letters of objection from the public, 22 letters of comment from the public, and 34 letters of support from the public.
Councillor Steven Pritchard spoke of his concerns around the building being out-of-character with the existing school buildings due to its shape and being flat-roofed – a very good view which is shared by many local residents.
Local residents also spoke out against the plans at the planning committee meeting, which was streamed online. Residents were concerned about the materials used for the build, the length of time the construction will take and the loss of public land.
In relation to the loss of public land in Dosthill, this is due to the fact that some of the public open space known locally as ‘The Broom’ will be used to facilitate the new development.
In relation to this, however, it was clarified using information from the land registry that the land being built on for the classrooms is in fact owned by Fierté Multi-Academy Trust.
Councillor Jeremy Oates, who is a local councillor for the area spoke of his concerns. He said that he understands the classrooms are needed, but that the local residents hold ‘The Broom’ very close to their hearts – having spent a lot of time improving and cleaning up the area, making it what it is today.
The concerns raised by Dosthill residents around the materials used is due to the fact that some local residents feel that a modular building, possibly pre-fabricated off-site would be a quicker way to build and more environmentally friendly.
The new buildings, however, will be constructed from brick as the developers feel that this would be more in keeping with the existing Victorian buildings.
Planning officers recommended to councillors that the application should be allowed.
The issue will now be bought back before the planning committee on 23 June 2020 where a decision will be made.