School’s car park plan comes under fire in St Albans

Oakwood Primary School

Oakwood Primary School - Credit: Archant

Concerns have been raised about a bid to build a car park on green space land by a school.

Oakwood Primary School in Oakwood Drive, St Albans, has applied for planning permission to build the 350 sqm parking facility.

The car park would be built opposite the reception class’s playground and according to Oakwood Drive resident, Alison Carter, it would take up about 40 per cent of the green space.

She said: “This would be another nail in the coffin of the rural and open aspect of the school.

“It would be a loss of amenity for the children, denying them the lovely and safe green space where they can run around in safety at school start and end times, near parents. Instead they would have a car park with steel railings.”

She proposed that the school used nearby ‘brownfield’ sites which she thought would also be a cheaper option.

And she suggested: “If the money saved was to be spent on solar panels covering the vast south west-facing pitched roof of the reception classrooms the school would be setting an example and sending out a real message of commitment to the environment and to their status as an eco school.”

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Alison also claimed that the car park would create a safety hazard, giving parents and children another road to cross on their way in and out of school.

But the school maintains that, on the contrary, the car park would help support road safety.

Headteacher Zoe Buckley, said: “The proposal to create additional parking is part of our commitment to ensure the safety of both pupils and parents arriving and leaving the school and to relieve school run parking pressures on surrounding roads.”

Alison pointed out the planning application, which was lodged in March, left out the potential loss of a willow tree if the work went ahead.

District councillor for Ashley ward, Cllr Anthony Rowlands, said: “There are some very real concerns about the loss of an attractive green open space near the entrance. I hope those in charge at the school will respond positively both in considering alternative approaches and in communicating with the local community.”

The application was under consultation until recently and a decision is pending.