Agenda item

Planning Application CR/2017/0596/FUL - Northwest House, 23 Gatwick Road, Northgate, Crawley

To consider report PES/242 (b)of the Head of Economic and Environmental Services.






The Committee considered report PES/242 (b) of the Head of Economic and Environmental Services which proposed as follows:


Temporary permission to allow continued use of school for one further academic year with a maximum of 537 pupils


Councillors Jaggard, P C Smith, Stone and Thomas declared they had visited the site.


The Principal Planning Officer provided a verbal summation of the application and the following updates:-


·         Delete Conditions 1, 3 and 4 as set out in the report and replace as below:


Condition 1


The use(s) of land/building(s) hereby permitted shall be discontinued permanently and the land restored to its former condition, or to a condition to be agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority, on or before the expiration of the period ending 31st August 2018.

REASON: The Local Planning Authority would not normally grant permission for such a development in this location but under the circumstances prevailing it is considered reasonable to make an exception in this instance and to allow the development for a limited period.


Condition 3


The school hereby permitted shall operate with a maximum number of 537 pupils, comprising 237 primary pupils and 300 secondary pupils, as set out in the application.

REASON: To control the operation of the school in the interests of highway safety, the character and function of Manor Royal as a main employment area and to provide a suitable level of development for the site, in accordance with policies SD1,CH3, EC1, EC2, EC3 and IN4 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015 – 2030.


Condition 4


The development hereby approved shall be carried out in accordance with the Travel Plan dated December 2017 and document titled “Reponses to WSCC Highways Comments dated 21 August 2017” unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

REASON: In the interests of highway safety, to reduce the need for private car travel to the school and to encourage and promote sustainable transport, in accordance with policies SD1, CH3 and IN4 of the Crawley Borough Local Plan 2015 – 2030.


·         WSCC Highways Authority had advised that they had reviewed the information submitted for this application, and following amendments to the Travel Plan and given the small increase in both pupil and staff numbers over the previous temporary permission, for a further year, it was raising no objections, subject to conditions.

·         The Applicants had asked for the following additional areas of Planning Policy to be highlighted:


(i) Section 72 of Paragraph 8 (Promoting Healthy Communities) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012).


(ii) The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Planning for Schools Development (2011).  


Mr Tom Lambshead, the Agent, and Mr Tim McCarthy, CEO of Aurora Academies Trust, addressed the Committee in support of the application.


The Committee then considered the application.  A number of Members expressed concerns that the provision of this educational facility was not in a sustainable location, was in an unsuitable environment, and did not relate to the character of its surroundings.  In response to issues and concerns raised, the Principal Planning Officer:


·         Clarified that the school car park currently had 62 marked spaces in the main / front car park of which 15 were for staff.  The School operated a strict parking policy, and there were no plans to vary this. 

·         Explained that the submitted Travel Plan would seek to reduce the reliance on the private car and encourage alternative modes of travel.  Whilst options for pupils travelling by other modes would be limited, there was more scope in relation to staff travel in respect of walking, bus or cycling, and therefore these aims were more achievable.

·         The measures outlined within the Travel Plan would be secured by condition.

·         Indicated that given that the application was temporary, following receipt of revised information through the submitted Transport Assessment, and subject to condition, it was not considered that the further use with additional pupils and staff, would adversely affect the road network and WSCC Highways had raised no objections.

·         Advised that in terms of air quality in relation to the application site, Officers would relay to the Council’s Environmental Health Team a request by Members to undertake an air quality survey, and for concerns and issues raised by Members be taken on board as part of that exercise.

·         Indicated that in terms of the temporary nature of the application, discussions with the Applicant were continuing to seek permanent solutions, although no formal application had been received as yet.


With the Committee having considered the application further, and whilst acknowledging that the application would be for a further temporary period, Members generally indicated their support for the proposals, albeit a number of Members conveyed the strong view that for the longer term (and before the expiry of the proposed further temporary period) permanent solutions needed to be found. 




Permit, subject to the conditions set out in report PES/242 (b), and the updated Conditions above.


Supporting documents: