The Kensington Society Objections

We have now received from the Chair of The Kensington Society the full text of their letter of objection to the KALC Planning Application which was submitted on 12th September. We are enormously pleased to be able to publish this in full.  Below are some brief extracts from the letter which we present here merely as an introduction. We fully endorse the views and objections expressed and recommend to our readers to read the FULL TEXT which can be found via this link;   kensington-society-objections

I write for the Kensington Society to state our strongest objection to the Kensington Academy and Leisure Centre planning application.

There is no argument that there is a need for an additional school in Kensington. In addition, we recognise that the existing building housing the Leisure Centre is in need of repair and the cost for such repair could exceed the cost for replacement.

There is, in addition, no argument that this section of the Royal Borough contains above average levels of deprivation. This deprivation is almost exclusively concentrated in the north of the Borough, with the 5 northerly wards of Norland, Colville, St. Charles Notting Barns and Golbourne each including at least one Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) in the top 20% most deprived in the country, all except Colville containing an LSOA within the top 10% most deprived. All LSOAs in Notting Barns and Golbourne are in the top 20% most deprived. The percentage of children 0-15 living in income deprived households in the four wards of Colville, St Charles, Notting Barns and Golborne is 44% with an average of 814 homes in the income deprived level. Benchmark this against the catchment area for Holland Park School at 3.35 in 44 homes.

There is also no argument that the Royal Borough is the wealthiest in the nation and with a population of 179,000, the Borough is the most densely populated borough in the UK. Not all the residents may feel the social obligation to create an environment which will allow all the children to have the opportunities to prosper. It is the Kensington Society’s position that there is a social obligation to provide a school in the north which is equal to the Holland Park School. In fact, there is a Government requirement under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 which requires the Council to take action to advance equality in the performance of all its functions…including the provision of equal education opportunity. Extremes of wealth and poverty exist side by side in this cosmopolitan, multi-ethnic and multi-faith Borough in which residents can trace their origins to all parts of the globe and over 100 different first languages are spoken. In RBKC’s schools, 70% of pupils are from ethnic minorities with over 100 different first languages spoken. A school for these multi-ethnic and multi-faith children must meet the same high standards set for the Holland Park School. If the school does not provide equal educational opportunities then it will not be meeting the Government’s Equality Act regulations which came into force in September 2011. We have been told that these concerns are not concerns of the Planning Department and we may not disagree, however, they are the concerns of the Council.

Objections:

  • Contrary to SPD Kensington Academy and Leisure Centre;
  • Loss of open space;
  • Loss of amenity space;
  • Sport England’s objection;
  • Thames Water objection;
  • New road;
  • Unacceptable uses of Westway Sport Centre;
  • Lack of parity to Holland Park School;
  • Question facilities for autistic students;
  • CCHP; and
  • Misleading application description

It is understood that the School will be paid for from BSF government money, Aldridge Foundation sponsorship money, part of the surplus from the sale of the Holland Park school land and some Council reserves. As stated in the introduction…we need a school in the north, we do not disagree. But at what cost? Cost is more than the money to be spent…it is the cost also of under providing for the children in this Borough who may need the most assistance. We are the richest Borough in the nation and this is not the place to save money. These children deserve more.

The Planning Statement page 6, 4.10 states that the “proposals should only be refused where there are ‘demonstrable negative local impacts which substantially outweigh the desirability of establishing a new school and which cannot be addressed through the appropriate use of planning conditions or obligations’”. We have outlined 11 reasons which do demonstrate that the proposal will have a negative impact on the local area. We have asked 8 questions which have not been answered…and there may be more. As much as a school is needed, this is not an acceptable one.

Conclusion:

This application should be refused on the grounds that:

  • The Core Strategy specifically states that housing on the site “does not form part of the allocation” and should only be considered if it does not compromise the objective of a new school and Leisure centre. The land loss to the housing is not acceptable especially when considering the overall loss of open space and the increase sense of enclosure which the residents of Lancaster Estates will suffer. Both the Core Strategy and the SPD give reasons to not accept the housing;
  • The reduction of open space by 1,866 sqm, the increase in hard surfaces by 1,600 sqm is not acceptable. A green roof may be open but it is not usable space. A road may be open but is unusable. The calculations within the report are creative at best… there will be loss of open space;
  • The residents of all of estates in the area use will be harmed by the loss of space, amenities and is supported by the NPPF, the LDF policies CR5 and CL5 and the saved UDP polices H2, CD23, and LR1;
  • Sport England’s objections have not be addressed;
  • The new road is opposed by all. It will increase the hard surface and reduce the usable open space;
  • The Westway Sport Centre is not acceptable alternative for the loss of the amenities within the grounds of Grenfell tower;
  • The education facilities are not of the same standard as provided for the new HPS;
  • Though the planning statement states there will be “wide resource centre for autistic students” there is no information provided as to how these special needs will be provided; and
  • The Core Strategy requirement to address the needs of the Lancaster Estates in particular the outdated heating system is not addressed.

The children of this Borough deserve more. We remind you of the Government requirement under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 which requires the Council to take action to advance equality in the performance of all its functions…including the provision of equal education opportunity.

We ask that this application be refused.

Yours sincerely

Amanda Frame
Chairman
Kensington Society

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