Controversial Woodbridge High School expansion set to be approved

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Details of a new three storey block for Woodbridge High School are set to be confirmed tomorrow Details of a new three storey block for Woodbridge High School are set to be confirmed tomorrow

A decision will be taken tomorrow on a controversial £11million plan to expand a school to accommodate 400 extra pupils.

Outline planning permission was granted for a new three-storey building and play area at Woodbridge High School, in St Barnabas Road, Woodford Green, in August last year.

Three Liberal Democrat councillors voted against the expansion, saying it was not an appropriate site for expansion as it is close to a residential street.

However, after being approved, the plans will be presented to a Redbridge council regulatory committee tomorrow and council planners have recommended that it go-ahead.

The plans say: “The proposed block has been partially sunken into the ground to reduce its visual massing and the impact on the neighbouring properties.

“It would have a setback of 28m from the nearest property. Therefore, it would not result in any significant detrimental impacts on the amenities of the nearby residential occupiers.”

The new block is set to be used for the teaching art, drama, history, music and ICT departments, including a new auditorium.

It will allow the school population to rise to 1998, with an additional 21 staff.

Opinions are divided in St Barnabas Road over the plans.

Kim Elderfield, 50, said: "The school overlooks our house already and we have had no issues. The new development will not affect residents at all.

“There are so many children who want to join schools in the area now so it is important they expand."

Elaine Golding, 75, agreed, adding: "There are more and more kids who are looking for school places so this is necessary.

“The extra 400 places will go a long way to help this, but more needs to be done."
But this view was rejected by some.

Herman Jungurhams, 46, said: "It is completely out of order. I understand progress and the need for more school places but it will be detrimental to us with the new block towering over us.

“We are supposed to be living in a democracy but our views have not been heard."

Ann Green, 66, said: "These types of developments are miserable for people.

It will overlook gardens and is not necessary. It seems to be that there is no prior planning and I am worried that the area is going to get more and more built up."

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