A free school on the site of the old police station on Lower Clapton Road has reassured locals that it will be a “good neighbour” following debate over its impact on traffic in the area.
The Town Hall initially rejected the 2016 application to move the Olive School onto the site due to concerns over congestion, a decision reversed by the government on appeal.
The school has now committed to participate in the council’s School Streets programme, which has seen a wide roll-out in response to the impact of the pandemic.
The council welcomed the school’s promise as addressing “a particular concern of residents” – that St John’s Church Road would be safe for pupils with the unauthorised use of the road during pick-up and drop-off hours prevented.
Planning chair Cllr Vincent Stops said: “You don’t need to look at a map to see that there is literally zero car parking available to anybody arriving at that school and that was the thrust of the problems that transport had initially.
“It is a really constrained site in terms of arriving by motor vehicle, and we need some assurance that [the school] recognises that, and are working with us to minimise vehicular arrivals in that site.”
The school’s travel plan, which was being considered by councillors this week, will also see a marshall positioned at the entrance to the proposed School Street on St John’s Church Road, with reduced capacity on public transport during the pandemic being acknowledged in the plan.
The school will also set up a working group with residents, which principal Babar Mirza stressed would be “key” in evolving the school’s transport arrangements in order that “it is even tighter”.
The council recently announced its upscaling of its School Streets programme, banning traffic during pick-up and drop-off times, after it bid successfully for £350,000 from Transport for London’s Streetspace programme, with the Town Hall itself putting £100,000 towards implementing the measures.
The Olive’s own travel plan will now include measures discouraging private cars and encouraging sustainable modes of travel, with surveys of both staff and pupils to be conducted within three months of its opening and the full plan online within six months.
Mirza said: “The travel plan is very detailed and provides lots of options for parents. My job, and our job at the school is to communicate that to parents. We’re going to start that very soon.
“We’re going to make sure what the bus routes and the walking routes are. We have two existing sites at the moment and we do have siblings on those sites, but I think the plan is very clear and detailed, and it’s workable.
“There are lots of elements that we are already using now. We’re not talking about a proposal that may or may not work. It’s not a static plan, it will evolve and we will collect feedback from local residents on working group to adapt plan so it is even tighter.”