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Queenborough primary set to expand despite Kent Highways admission that there's solution in sight over school parking problems

By Emma Grove

Kent Highways has admitted there is a problem with parking around a school – but have failed to come up with a solution.

Kent County Council has put forward £1.5 million proposals to build four new classrooms at Queenborough primary in Edward Road.

The proposed development includes a new hall link corridor, additional toilets and teaching assistants’ room and the playground will also be altered and increased to compensate for the new buildings. But it does not include any plans for parking.

Queenborough school is set to expand despite parking problems
Queenborough school is set to expand despite parking problems

The classrooms will replace mobile buildings and temporarily increase the number of new pupils from 60 to 90 for September this year.

This is so a deficit of primary places on the Island can be covered until the new school opens at Thistle Hill in September 2015.

In April we reported how people who live nearby are concerned about the expansion as parking is already horrendous, with cars being left half on pavements and blocking driveways and they fear an increase in cars will make it even worse.

In the planning committee’s report, which suggests the development would attract an extra nine vehicle trips each morning and afternoon, Kent Highways says it does not raise any objection.

They say they don’t think this will have a significant impact given the level of traffic already associated with the site.

The report says: “The roads immediately next to the school are already at saturation point for parking and the current demand has spread beyond these roads to include parts of Main Road and the [Sheppey Hall] car park.

“There is certainly more capacity around these locations to absorb more parking demand without having much of a noticeable impact, particularly in Borough Road, considering only nine additional vehicles are forecast.”

And Swale’s planning officers described the parking arrangements as ‘clearly unsatisfactory’ but said they don’t think it would make the existing situation any worse.

Swale’s planning officers have recommended councillors back the plans – and the county council will make the final decision.

Pat Mumford, who lives in Edward Road, said residents had petitioned a few years ago to get wasteland at the bottom of the street made into a car park.

She said: “It’s such a waste that land down there doing nothing.”

“Kent Highways is accepting there’s a problem but is not willing to do anything about it.

“It’s definitely going to get worse.

“Last week [half-term] was lovely because we could take the car out whenever we liked and didn’t have to plan.”

Town councillor and former mayor of Queenborough Sue Simpsoncorr said she agreed the school needs the expansion.

She said: “Speaking personally and as a resident, we have had a lot of problems down there.

“It’s a nightmare and I don’t know what the solution is but I think any extra cars along there will make it worse.

“There are too many cars and it’s reaching saturation point.

“I don’t think they should be running out of mobile buildings and improvement to any school is good.

“But I think something has to be done about the cars before a child is hurt.”

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