Croydon Council’s planning committee meets next month to consider the application to build a massive secondary academy on Metropolitan Open Land next to Croydon Sports Arena. But the Labour-run council’s cabinet member for transport has already suggested that public transport links to the location will not be able to cope with the 1,000 pupils and staff travelling to the school by tram.
The Oasis Arena Academy proposal has been controversial because the planning committee managed to hold a pre-hearing on the scheme where four of the committee – including its chairman – have a clear conflict of interest as current or past governors of other Oasis schools in the borough.
The provisional report to the committee also highlighted the traffic management problems arising from the six forms of entry secondary school, which someone thinks can be shoe-horned on to the old Ryelands primary site.
In the council’s own report, these concerns included “vehicles circulating residential streets when looking for a place to drop off/pick up students”; increased road safety risks, reduced pedestrian time at local traffic lights, and extra traffic congestion.
The nearby Arena tram stop seemed to offer a traffic “safety valve” for the planning committee, offering a public transport solution to relieve a lot of these concerns, if the 915 pupils and 120 teachers could be persuaded to take the tram to the school.
But Kathy Bee – one of council leader Tony Newman’s “top team” of 10 cabinet members – seems to have wrecked that cunning plan with a written answer to one of her councillor colleagues.
It has all the hall-marks of more casualties for Newman’s administration caused by “friendly fire”, as the response was in answer to a “patsy” question from her own side which was attempting to score “clever” political points at the expense of Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Councillor Bee, the council’s cabinet member for transport, was responding to her South Norwood ward colleague Wayne Lawlor, who expressed his regrets about Transport for London failing to deliver the long-promised tram extension to Crystal Palace.
Bee’s back-firing response talks openly about the missing Crystal Palace extension providing “much needed additional capacity between Croydon Arena and the Croydon Town Centre (one of the most congested parts of the network)”.
“One of the most congested parts of the network”: and all this before an extra 2,000 or so journeys per day are imposed by adding the Oasis Academy at the Arena.
“Unless and until another means of improving capacity between the Town Centre and Arena is delivered, existing users will experience increasing congestion,” Bee said.
No doubt the local campaign against the building of the Oasis Academy will be flagging up to the council’s planning committee that the cabinet member for transport does not believe that the local tram system can cope with the extra demand that would arise from the new school.
- Own goals galore scored on Croydon’s school playing fields
- Newman refuses to halt ‘bias’ on Arena academy ‘stitch-up’
- Is it time to park ill-considered plans for the Arena Academy?
- Arena Academy proposals look like a quart for a pint-sized plot
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema, ’71, Dec 11
- Mayor of Croydon’s charity Christmas dinner, Dec 12
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- Concert of Christmas music, St Luke’s, Woodside, Dec 13
- Opera Soiree at Whitgift School, Dec 14
- Friends of the Earth Green Beanfeast, Dec 15 (book by Dec 1)
- Croydon Philharmonic Christmas concert, St Matthew’s, Dec 16
- Spread Eagle’s Christmas Improv show, Dec 17
- David Lean Cinema, Northern Soul, Dec 18
- David Lean Cinema, Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Dec 29
- David Lean Cinema, The Beat Beneath My Feet, Dec 30
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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