Council approves car park relocation as part of college masterplan
- Credit: New City College
Havering Council has approved plans to relocate car parking at the New City College campus in Ardleigh Green as part of wider changes at the site.
The planning committee voted seven to one in favour of the application last night - Thursday July 1 - with only councillor David Durant (Independent Residents' Group, Rainham and Wennington) voting against.
This means a new car parking facility - boasting 170 spaces - will extend into the eastern part of the campus.
It will bring the total provision under the new proposals to 400 spaces, less than the current provision of 476 spaces, but eclipsing the 331 spaces identified as the peak demand by a car parking survey undertaken last February.
The number of cycle racks will increase from 30 to 100, while there will be an additional 21 disabled parking spaces.
Its approval is the first step towards a significant overhaul of the Ardleigh Green campus.
As reported by the Recorder in March, the college hopes to build a brand new multimillion pound facility for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
To help fund this, it intends to sell off part of the site for the construction of a care home and three self-build houses.
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These are proposed to be built where the current car park is currently located off Nelmes Way, hence the relocation plans.
Funds from this sale, together with a Greater London Authority grant, will generate £15million for the campus improvements.
Louise Morton from Quadrant Town Planning - representing the college - explained the situation at a strategic planning committee on March 25.
"The first step in securing the funds is the relocation of the car park to an alternative part of the site in order to release the land to Signature (Senior Lifestyle care homes).
"The primary aim for the college is to provide modern, fit-for-purpose education and training facilities through the implementation of a phased masterplan."
Two additional proposals - one for the 87-bed care home, the other for three self-build houses - are connected to the implementation of this masterplan.
Separate applications have been submitted for each, which was a point of contention at yesterday's meeting, as Cllr Durant questioned why the car parking application was the only one up for consideration on the night.
"I must say that I initially thought, ‘this matter has to be deferred’, because it’s part of a masterplan.
"We’re told that the other part of the scheme can’t proceed unless this is approved, and presumably, if the other scheme isn’t approved, you don’t need this scheme.
“In effect, if you approve this, you’re approving the other plan.”
Havering's assistant director of planning, Helen Oakerbee, confirmed that the car parking proposal is a "standalone application".
However, she conceded that there is a “little bit of a domino effect going on”.
“To be able to proceed with the proposals for the care home and the houses that sit as separate applications, it is dependent on this application being approved."
Cllr Durant's concerns led him to move for a deferral which was not seconded.
The potential impact on residents was another issue raised by the committee.
Cllr Roger Ramsey (Con, Emerson Park) called in the application on the basis of those concerns, arguing that the new car park will affect those who live in Brindles and Birch Crescent - developments in Emerson Park and Squirrels Heath respectively.
Conservative colleague Cllr Philippa Crowder (Pettits) sought reassurances on this subject: "I wanted to know how far (the car park) is from the nearest property."
It was confirmed that there will be 8m between the car park and side boundary of housing along Brindles, and a minimum of 9m in terms of the actual dwellings.
With respect to Birch Crescent, the car park will be 15m from the rear boundary, and a minimum of 35m from the houses.
The full committee - with the exception of Cllr Durant - voted to approve the plans.