New Rainham sixth form college gets green light

CGI image of the Sixth Form from Wennington Road

CGI image of the sixth form college as it would be viewed from Wennington Road - Credit: Noviun Architects & ISG

Plans for a new sixth form in Rainham which attracted traffic concerns have been approved.  

Harris Academy Rainham has been granted permission to build a 400-place college on their existing secondary school site in Lambs Lane South. 

An L-shaped building, three storeys at its highest, will replace a disused swimming pool, which had formed part of Chafford Sports Complex until its closure in June 2019

Havering’s strategic planning committee deferred a decision on the matter last month (January 6), asking officers to return with further details on a travel plan meant to mitigate the new college’s impact on nearby residents. 

While the proposals included a new vehicle access from Wennington Road, just six new spaces – two disabled bays and four for visitors – will be added to Harris Academy’s existing on-site parking. 

On Monday, February 7, Neil Goate, Havering’s strategic applications team leader, told councillors that students at the college would be required to sign an agreement stating that they would not drive to college or park nearby.  

When breaches occur, Mr Goate explained this would be enforced through the school’s existing student disciplinary panel and “sanctions” imposed “where required”.  

Staff will also face disciplines if they park on nearby streets, although most already work at the secondary school. 

The travel impact of the college on nearby roads will be monitored by the council for six months, with additional measures to discourage car use put in place if traffic problems arise. 

This would be reviewed again after another six months and Mr Goate said if the situation had not improved, the academy would put forward a proposal for additional on-site parking. 

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Cllr Reg Whitney said he was concerned about sanctioning students – “what are we a communist state?” – and suggested the college seek planning permission for on-site car parking in advance of the six-month period, so that it is ready to proceed if necessary. 

Helen Oakerbee, assistant director of planning, noted the travel plan was enforceable and advised councillors that it “needs to be given the opportunity to work in the way it has been described and outlined to you”.  

“We will monitor it and if it doesn’t work then we take steps and seek the application,” she added. 

Councillors voted unanimously (8-0) to approve the application. 

View the plans on the council's website using P1013.21.