site_visit by nuhman10

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									Minutes of a site meeting held on Tuesday 7 September 2010 at 10.00am

Members present: J Groom (Chairman), P Byatt, M Cherry, D Coulam, P Flegg, N Dack, G Elliott,
P Light and D Ritchie

1. Pakefield Middle School, Kilbourn Road, Lowestoft

Officers present: R Ambridge, (Project Manager, MACE), C Leisk (Architect, Pick Everard), K
Hilson (Principal Planning Officer), P Perkin (Principal Planning Officer), D Offord (Principal
Service Manager for Democratic Services), P Whiffing (Project Lead, School Organisational
Review, Suffolk County Council) and N Wotton (Senior Committee Officer)

Public Representations were received from Mr P Hobbs (Chair of Promoting Pakefield) and Mrs L
Lee (Local Resident)

2. Pontins Holiday Centre, London Road, Gisleham

Officers present: K Hilson (Principal Planning Officer), P Perkin (Principal Planning Officer), D
Offord (Principal Service Manager for Democratic Services) and N Wotton (Senior Committee
Officer)

Representations were received from Mr C Osborne, Director of Ocean Parks, and Mr C Walmsler,
Ocean Parks

Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor P Ashdown. Councillor D Coulam was
attending the site visit and subsequent Committee meeting, as a substitute.


1.     SITE VISIT TO PAKEFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL, KILBOURN ROAD, LOWESTOFT
       Application No: DC/10/0849/CCC

The Chairman welcomed Members to the site meeting and reminded those present that the
purpose of the site meeting was ‘fact finding’ and to view the physical features of the site and its
surroundings.

The Planning Officer updated those present that the application had been deferred from the last
Development Control Committee meeting, to enable a site visit to take place, which would allow
the Committee to make a more informed decision. The Planning Officer outlined the application,
which was included within the papers for the next Committee meeting scheduled for 14 September
2010.

Members queried the size of the playing fields, as concerns were raised that the running track
would be only 300m rather than the standard 400m and the football pitch would also be of a non-
standard size. The Suffolk County Council representative reported that the application complied
with all current government guidance and that collaborative arrangements with other local schools
and sports clubs would enable facilities to be shared, so that the young people could use standard
sized facilities. Those present were reassured that the best possible facilities would be installed
on the site available, and the school would benefit from a state of the art indoor sports hall and a
multi use games area (MUGA). It was noted that the children would be able to use a full size
football pitch in the Kirkley area, however Councillors raised concerns regarding the time needed
to travel to and from alternative sites, which would impact negatively on the time children spent
participating in physical activity. In response to a query from a Member, it was noted that the
school site was one hectare short of the size recommended by the government, however
according to the ‘Constrained Site Guidelines’ the site could still be used, if collaborative
arrangements were entered into.


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Members requested a map showing the catchment area and the location of the future pupils who
would be attending the school, to show where the higher density areas were located.

A Councillor reported that pupils from Kessingland would be expected to walk along the footpath
alongside the A12, as a school bus service would not be provided. It was clarified that a bus
service would only be provided if pupils lived more than 3 miles from the school, otherwise it was
the parents responsibility to ensure that their child(ren) got to school safely. It was reported that
the footpath had been assessed and, according to the current laws, had not been classified as
dangerous. Parents would be expected to accompany their children to school, if necessary. A
public service bus currently travelled through Kessingland and past the school and the County
Council were negotiating with local bus companies to ensure that the timings of the bus service
would coincide with the school day. Members were advised that there was an appeal process if
the classification of the route was incorrect and if the route was later classified as dangerous, the
County Council would be required to provide transport. Councillors also raised their concerns
about the proposed entrance to the school, which was just off the roundabout, near to the water
tower. The high volume of traffic on the roads was discussed, particularly at peak times, and it
was considered that the large number of pedestrians wanting to cross the road would impact upon
the traffic at the roundabout. It was reported that the Highways Agency had technically assessed
the traffic in the area and had created predictive models, which had concluded that traffic would be
much slower in the area, however pedestrian safety would be improved overall due to the slower
moving traffic. A Councillor stated that the footpath alongside the A12 was not satisfactory, as it
was narrow and not well maintained, heavy goods vehicles used the road constantly and an
increase in traffic was expected due to the expansion of the Pontins Holiday Centre nearby.

Mrs Lee (local resident) raised concerns that there were no lay-bys for parents to drop off their
children near to the school, which would also result in increased congestion and a further
reduction of traffic flow. Mr Hobbs (Chair of Promoting Pakefield) stated that the application
contradicted the Government’s 2002 aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, as more parents
would be driving their children to school and dropping them off by the roundabout or on nearby
side streets, which would have a negative impact upon local residents.

In response to a query from a Member, it was noted that the other school access on Kilbourn Road
would be maintained, allowing pupils and staff to access the school. However the gates would be
kept closed during the school day and would only allow access for maintenance vehicles etc. The
majority of vehicular traffic to the school would be expected to use the new access near to the
water tower.

Members queried which other sites had been looked at prior to this site being selected. It was
reported that Suffolk County Council had looked at all Middle Schools in the area, and the
Pakefield Middle School site was the only site large enough. The additional secondary school
capacity was required by September 2011, as the lack of secondary school places was having a
negative effect on other schools.

Concerns were raised that there would not be sufficient funding available to complete all 3 phases
of the school build and Members requested assurances that funding had been secured. It was
reported that funding had been secured for Phase 1 and although the Building Schools for the
Future (BSF) programme was no longer available, the James Report was expected in
October/November 2010, which would clarify the funding available for schools. Suffolk County
Council would lobby strongly for Pakefield School to receive Capital Funding.

Councillors were advised that a model of the proposed school was available to view and would
also be shown at the Development Control Committee meeting on 14 September 2010 at 6.00pm
in the Town Hall.

The meeting was concluded at 10.35 am and Members travelled on to the next site visit.



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2.     SITE VISIT TO PONTINS HOLIDAY CENTRE, LONDON ROAD, GISLEHAM
       Application No: DC/10/0515/OUT

Councillor Light had given his apologies for this site visit, due to another commitment.

The Planning Officer outlined the application and provided a perspective illustration reference plan
for Members to view and it was noted that the application included the redevelopment and
extension of the Centre. Due to the size of the area, Members were provided with a minibus to
tour all areas of the site.

From the minibus, the Members viewed the amenities on site including the swimming pool,
entertainment and dining hall, sports facilities and the existing chalets. It was noted that the
chalets would be upgraded or replaced in phases and staff accommodation would be increased.

Those present viewed the proposed site for 304 self catering and 96 catered chalets. It was noted
that the hedgerows would be maintained and landscaping would be undertaken to soften the view.
An underground pumping station would be installed and foul drainage would be dispersed to
Kessingland sewage treatment plant during quiet periods. The number of car parking spaces
would be doubled to 380 and a maximum of 2800 guests would be accommodated at any one
time. The Centre would be open year round and it was hoped to increase the number of visitors
out of peak season.

Councillors were reassured that the coastal footpath would be widened and re-surfaced as
needed, although final specifications were not yet available, and the right of way between
Kessingland and Lowestoft would be enhanced. In response to a query, it was noted that the
footpath alongside the A12 would also be widened to 5 metres and would include a cycle path
away from the edge of the carriageway.

Members travelled in the minibus to view the proposed site from the Kessingland roundabout
viewpoint and then travelled on the A12 to the Gisleham roundabout, taking the newly proposed
route in to the Centre. The entrance to the Centre would be modified to provide an access
strategy of ‘left in, left out’ for all vehicles and all northbound traffic would need to drive past the
current entrance and turn around at the Gisleham roundabout, as there would be no right turn into
the Centre. The access road itself would also be changed to become more direct and would lose
its current meander. Concerns were raised that these changes would increase traffic on the
roundabout, however it was felt that the site could cope with any resulting increase. Members
were reassured that the Centre had a Travel Plan in place and would be providing coach trips to
destinations such as Pleasurewood Hills and Africa Alive, thereby reducing the numbers of visitors
travelling by car, whilst increasing tourism in the local area. Councillors were concerned that the
stretch of the A12 outside of Pontins Holiday Centre was quite narrow, as was demonstrated when
an emergency vehicle went past during the site visit. Councillors were reassured that although the
volume of traffic travelling to and from the Centre would increase on Friday afternoons, weekends
and Monday mornings, it was noted that the Centre would work to ensure that arrival and
departure times did not clash with the established morning and evening rush hours.

The site visit concluded at 11.55 am.




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