Residents oppose Upminster school expansion because of “traffic chaos”

People living near an Upminster school hoping to expand say the development would cause traffic chaos.

Residents in the roads around Branfil Primary School, in Cedar Avenue, say transport and road links cannot cope with the number of children.

The school has applied for planning permission for a new 15-classroom extension and could possibly expand by a form to provide more places.

Andrew Stannett, from nearby Lime Avenue, said: “The traffic is bad enough as it is, more people would turn what is a barely tolerable situation into a completely intolerable one.

“There’s an issue whether the extension is justified. If they can prove the places are needed there are other ways of doing what they’ve got to do.”

Police have been called to Cedar Avenue, the residential road used for access to the school, on several occasions to solve driving and parking disputes.

Several meetings between school representatives, developers, councillors and residents have been held to address concerns.

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Upminster councillor Linda van den Hende said she had asked council officers to look into the situation.

She said: “I’ve seen the traffic myself and it’s chaos but it’s not an unusual situation and I know people are working to improve the situation.”

Head teacher Andrew Kelly said a “small minority” of drivers are inconsiderate.

He added: “We do take residents’ concerns seriously but we are not alone with this. Many schools have the same problem at the start at the end of the day.

“We have been working with our stakeholders to reduce traffic with programmes like ‘Park and Stride’ and giving children cycling and scooter training.”

According to figures in the planning application traffic and transport plan, 41 per cent of pupils currently get to school by car, while 38 per cent walk and 6 per cent cycle or ride scooters.

The document said a traffic increase of almost 50 per cent caused by the expansion would not be over capacity.

It added that there is “ample” parking within walking distance of the school but said the reliance on cars must be reduced and recommended traffic calming measures on Cedar Avenue and Bridge Avenue.