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Campaign group claims school plans are flawed
CAMPAIGNING cul-de-sac residents claim council plans for a new primary school are based on an eight-year-old Google Earth image.
The Fernlea Residents’ Action Group (FRAG), which is behind the claim, is fighting Essex County Council’s proposals to build the 420-pupil New Braiswick Academy on land off Fernlea and Apprentice Drive, Colchester.
The council wants access to the £5million school from Apprentice Drive and out via Fernlea, a cul-de-sac.
Angry Fernlea residents say their street wouldn’t be able to cope with the increased traffic and Apprentice Drive should bare the brunt of it.
FRAG, via Freedom of Information requests, has obtained details about the council’s research into the proposals.
The Google image FRAG says it used features the former Flakt Woods factory that has since been demolished and replaced with hundreds of homes.
The school would be built on land north of those homes and accessed via Tufnell Way and through to Apprentice Drive.
But since 2006 the Tufnell Way junction with Bergholt Road has been widened to cope with more traffic.
Caroline Withers, FRAG spokesperson, said: “The traffic consultants employed by ECC, inform the Design Team at the meeting April 7 that they have used Google Earth to review the road layout.
“Firstly, to ascertain if a low articulated lorry could get around and secondly they state that the Fernlea junction is wider than Tufnell Way.
“If they had been to site they would not have made this statement, as it is wrong. However with Google Earth satellite image showing the area in 2006 this would be the conclusion you would draw. The Tufnell Way junction had not been widened then.
“It is estimated that traffic will increase by 285 per cent at the Fernlea junction, impacting safety and security of all residents.”
FRAG obtained the “flawed” plans via minutes from an Essex County Council meeting, using the Freedom of Information Act.
Mrs Withers added: “I downloaded Google Earth and the actual date of the satellite image is October 9 2006, prior to the building of the New Braiswick Park housing development and the widening of the Tufnell Way junction by demolishing two houses. “ Essex County Council wants to start building the Braiswick New Academy this summer on nine acres of land it owns.
The school, sponsored by the Learning Pathways Trust, is scheduled to open in September 2015.
Colchester Council’s planning committee is set to review the plans tonight but it will be the county council is due to decide on the plans on July 25.
A council spokesperson said : "ECC have followed the appropriate process regarding granting planning permission for a school and have been fully transparent throughout. We have listened to the community and the individual comments and concerns will be properly considered and assessed by the planning authority."