Plans to extend Branfil School have been approved

Plans to extend an Upminster school have been given the go ahead.

Havering Council’s regulatory services committee met on Thursday and approved the expansion of Branfil Primary School, which will see extra classrooms and a reception class for a potential increase of 201 pupils.

The council wanted to build a new and upgraded building to replace the dilapidated infant block and officers recommended approval of the plans.

Seventy letters of objection were sent to the council about concerns that there would be an insufficient capacity for the local highway network for more traffic; insufficient parking spaces; traffic congestion in the mornings and afternoons; and the site is too small to accommodate the proposed expansion.

The extension, which will be two and three storeys high, will be joined to the existing junior building to make a complete primary school.

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Cllr Steve Kelly, who was on the committee, said: “It fits in really well. It’s not an overbearing building.”

Councillors questioned why a footpath, which would run alongside the houses to create a separate entrance for the nursery was needed.

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Cllr Ron Ower said: “These buildings should have been replaced years ago. But I can’t accept that the footpath is necessary. And the new block will have an overbearing effect.”

He added that the report said there was a local bus route nearby, but Ron added: “The nearest one is 10 minutes away. This application will bring 80 to 90 extra cars a day. We will make people’s lives in that area dreadful.”

He proposed rejecting it until a travel plan was in place and the proposed footpath was removed.

The borough needs to provide more school places for local schoolchildren following an increase in the birth rate of 16 per cent in 2006/7, which is projected to continue to rise. Expanding Branfil Primary School is part of the council’s plan to increase school places in the borough.

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