Bristol City Council (BCC) officers appear to have told Cotham School that they can build a 2 metre high security fence around the boundary of Grade II listed Stoke Lodge without making a planning application. We believe that the BCC officers decision is legally incorrect - the law and Planning Portal guidance are clear that planning permission is required before a fence can be built on the boundary of a listed building.
So far, we have:
What impact would suspending permitted development have on the school and its pupils?
There are several reasons why Cotham’s pupils will not be able to use the field at Stoke lodge in the foreseeable future, and so there is no urgent need to erect a fence. Whilst the school might bus pupils already in their PE kit, there are no toilet facilities on the field so they can’t play sport there until such facilities are provided, presumably through their intended plan to redevelop the Pavilion. Bus access is very restricted, the only possible safe drop off point being on Shirehampton Road; the pitches are in a really poor state as they haven’t been maintained for four years. As the school does not currently have planning permission (or a live planning application/ appeal) for the Pavilion redevelopment, this could take many months during which the field will remain unused by Cotham pupils and the community fenced out.
We have written to the school to advise them of the very real risks they take if they go ahead with the fence without the appropriate tree protection measures and a licence to carry out development works near active badger setts. We are concerned that the school could commit criminal offences, which carry potentially unlimited financial penalties and for which the Governors would be personally liable. Complying with due process would protect the school, not harm it.
We wrote to the school on Monday the 3rd December to ask for meeting and are yet to recieve a reply.
Please consider adding your voice and ask BCC to formally suspend permitted development rights.
BCC has wide discretion to suspend rights and ensure that a fence goes through the proper planning process. This would give elected Councillors the opportunity to make a transparent and democratic decision. Surely a decision of this sensitivity and magnitude should be taken transparently, with elected Councillors taking control? Our cash strapped Council needs to consider the serious implications if they do not suspend the alleged permitted development rights.
Please make your views known! It is in everyone's interests - the school governors, the schools’ pupils, the Council, the taxpaying public and our future generations. See below for a document which include this summary, email contact details and some of the key legal, financial and other risks that you may want to include in your email.
Please do share this document with anyone who would also like to add thier voice.