In reply to the Strutt & Parker proposals. I answered in my role as Vicechair of Waltham Abbey Neighbourhood Plan.
Strutt & Parker
66-68 Hills Road
Cambridge CB2 1LA
Dear Ms Drozdowska
I am in receipt of your email sent to the Waltham Abbey Residents Association, I am chair of this organisation and also vice-chair of the Waltham Abbey Neighbourhood Plan steering committee and responding on behalf of both organisations.
Firstly, let me say on behalf of WARA that we are happy to post the details of the consultation on our website.
Now speaking with my WANP hat on, this site is at the very heart and is the cornerstone of our new Neighbourhood Plan. Having spent over three years garnering opinions of our residents for the expansion of our town over the lifetime of the new plan.
I must remind you that currently, this site sits within our local green belt which our residents consider being a precious resource. The new local plan is still with government inspectors, and the modified version is now under consultation until 23rd September 2021, so a consultation at this stage may be a little premature.
We have spent much time holding meetings, visiting community groups listening to the opinions of our residents and overwhelmingly the largest gripe we have heard, is that there is no provision for the relocation of King Harold’s Academy within the Local Plan document. Although the need is recognised and recorded in the plan, no formal action was proposed.. The modifications under current consultation state: p119 ( ED130-MM-Schedule-Merged-090721.pdf (efdclocalplan.org))
The remainder of F to become new Part after F and specified elements
amended as follows:
“. Specifically, Development proposals in Waltham Abbey will be expected to
deliver and/or contribute proportionately towards the following infrastructure
items as required, including:
“(i) education provision including early years, primary school and secondary
Currently, there is no sixth form available in Waltham Abbey, students, therefore, have to continue schooling at a sixth form or college elsewhere, such as Harlow, Cheshunt or Debden. Adding to this there is an unreliable bus service which makes many of the students late. As a result, residents have asked us to find a solution to this issue, especially with the additional homes proposed within the new local plan, the situation will become much more pronounced.
Within the submitted 2017 local plan there are two statements in the Waltham Abbey section that say and I quote:-
The council will seek the potential relocation and expansion of a secondary school in the local area in order to meet the future needs arising from development.
In accordance with Part F of the master plan should explore and support the possible relocation and expansion of the King Harold Secondary School to an appropriate site within the Masterplan Area.
WANP looked at all the proposed development sites within the plan and concluded that the most suitable site for a school relocation is the site you are currently proposing to develop. We have held discussions with the ECC education department on the possibility of relocating KHA to this site with the view of building an all-inclusive school, covering students from nursery through to the sixth form. They were in favour as they are aware of the need for a sixth form and the expansion of primary places locally and this would solve their problems if this became possible. E.C.C stated that they would need approximately 10 hectares for a site to accommodate their needs and it was agreed that the development of the existing school site could make up for the loss of houses from your proposed site to meet the local plan’s housing needs. ECC informed us that they would be responsible for the necessary expansion of school places, but King Harold School would have responsibility for the existent secondary school places.
If you could accommodate this scheme within your overall plans for your development proposals you would find a great deal of support for your project both from us and from the local community who see the relocation of the school as one of their top priorities.
As a long term resident of Waltham Abbey, I am well aware of the many attempts the owner made to bring this site to prominence, unfortunately, most of his attempts failed to comply with planning regulations, as this site was situated within the Green belt at that time and currently still is.
However, I am sure A.S. had he survived would have been well pleased that not only this site, but the site off Galley Hill also within the green belt, appears to have now been approved for industrial development. He would undoubtedly have been overjoyed that the school would bear his name, as we propose to call the new school the King Harold Academy based at Albert Saunders Memorial School, Parklands, Waltham Abbey, Essex.
I hope this meets with your approval and looked forward to receiving your comments on the matter.