The Downside & Hatchford Association is an association of over 200 residents of Downside and Hatchford set up to protect the interests and environment of our community
Over 95% of Downside and Hatchford residents recently surveyed do not support the potential expansion of St Matthews school and their desire to build a second school building and large car park on a separate greenfield site on a field in the north of the village
We are opposed to the proposal on the following grounds:
Loss of more Greenbelt – Downside has already lost 60 acres of Greenbelt to the new motorway service area in the south of the village. The proposed site of the new school building would take more Greenbelt land from the north of the village, as well as impacting negatively on the Downside village green Conservation Area
Harm to Wildlife - The proposed site is a field that has never been built on and as such as is a haven for wildlife. Several protected species use the field and will be put at risk, as will several specimen oak trees
Road safety - The entrance site would be on a blind bend on a known accident black-spot – the school propose to try to make this safe by removing part of the road and destroying a significant piece of mature hedgerow. In our view all this will do is speed the road up, as well as damage more of our greenbelt.
Increased Traffic & Co2 emissions – 95% of pupils would have to be driven to the school (compared to a national average for primary schools of only 36% ). Residents and neighbours are already seriously inconvenienced by inconsiderate parking – and under these proposals the size of the school would more than double from 90 to 210 pupils, leading to a significant increase of traffic and over 100+ cars dropping off and collecting pupils twice a day. There is no public transport to the school and this expansion would fly in the face of government policies to reduce Co2 emissions and the impact of school traffic
Lack of community need in Downside – Downside is a village of ~200 houses – only 6 children of which go to the school. We do not need a school for 210 pupils! The school should be built close to where pupils actually live and where they can walk to it – reducing the need for car journeys and the pollution and congestion that would result
Scale of the development – a school for 210 pupils would alter the balance and character of our community for ever, and will not benefit the vast majority of our residents
We hope as a Downside and Hatchford resident or a Local with concerns for are area, you will join in with DHCG and help us put pressure on the right people.
A list of all the up and coming road works in the area is to be posted here.- Please Look, Did you know Downside bridge is going to be closed for 4 weeks !
Below is an aerial photo of the site for the Proposed New School. This not an extension of St Mathews, but a New Build.
Photos of the Field where the Proposed School could be Built.
This is Green Belt land ( Click on Picture to Enlarge )
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