Pupils’ safety at risk with new development

The site where the houses are set to be built
The site where the houses are set to be built

CHILDREN’S safety will be put at risk by extra traffic over plans to build two new homes beside a St Leonards school, it has been claimed.

Despite no one on the council speaking in favour of the proposals, councillors on the authority’s planning committee backed officers’ recommendations and gave the go-ahead for developers to put a pair of semi-detached houses and parking spaces on a large garden in Oban Road, next to Silverdale School.

But nearby residents fear that there will be more congestion and wildlife will be harmed by construction work.

The proposal was discussed at a meeting on Wednesday (May 25).

Councillor Matthew J Lock, who represents Silverhill, said more than 50 residents in the area had signed a petition in protest at the plans.

He said: “It is testament to the strength of feeling and disbelief that this application could even be considered. The site is regularly used by badgers, foxes, bats, newts, frogs and slow-worms. Residents would like to see a more thorough, independent survey prior to any development.”

Cllr Lock said people were concerned about increased traffic in the area. He said: “Residents know how dangerous the junction already is.”

Gill Knox, headteacher of Silverdale School, penned a letter to the planning committee which Cllr Lock read on her behalf. She said: “The safety of the children at the beginning and end of the school day would be compromised as this is a time of heavy pedestrian traffic in and out of the school grounds.

“Many of the parents who walk their children to school are accompanied by pre-school children.”

Cllr Emily Westley said she was “unhappy” about parking arrangements, saying drivers backing out may not be able to see a child walking by.

“It’s a complete blind spot,” she said.