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Bulge classroom in Rainham school built without planning permission

PUBLISHED: 17:51 25 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:51 25 August 2016

Whybridge Infant School has had a classroom extended outside of planning permission.

Whybridge Infant School has had a classroom extended outside of planning permission.

Peter Garrett

The council has been accused of double standards after it pushed ahead with extending a classroom without planning permission.

Residents of Ford Lane, Rainham, received letters from Havering Council in June asking if they had any objections to classroom extensions at Whybridge Infant School, also in Ford Lane.

Joan Garrett, 56, of Ford Lane, said she, her husband and a number of residents objected.

“My husband received an email last week about a planning meeting on Thursday (yesterday).

“But they had already knocked down a classroom and replaced it with another one without planning permission.”

A spokeswoman for the council, confirmed that despite residents being informed a planning meeting would be held, works had already started.

She said: “The existing classroom has been removed due to its poor condition.”

Plans, submitted in April, show that the existing 25-year-old classroom measuring nine metres by 10 metres, would be knocked down and replaced with a temporary building comprising two classrooms measuring 14.8 metres by 9.8 metres – nearly double the

size.

“The need for the additional bulge class only became apparent in April and provision was accordingly agreed with the school,” continued the spokeswoman.

“The provision is required from this September and the work to demolish the existing and erect the new unit would have been extremely disruptive to normal school operations.”

But Mrs Garrett said: “What’s the point in having a planning meeting if its already been sorted?

“It’s one rule for one and one rule for another. If I had put a loft extension up, I would have been told to take it down.”

Husband Peter, 58, added: “What’s the point in sending a letter asking if we object? I objected there’s going to be an increase for capacity of children and an increase of traffic.”

Explaining why works were carried out without permission being granted, the spokeswoman added: “The council has a limited window to develop this and there was an urgent and legal need to provide school places.

“So on balance and accepting the risk involved it was decided to proceed with works whilst the planning application was running.”

The couple, who said they have difficulty parking due to spaces being taken up by parents on the school run, said the extended classroom was going to make parking “worse”.

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