The Planning Inspectorate has rejected Cotham School's appeal in relation to the redevelopment of the pavilion at Stoke Lodge. The principal reason for the rejection - as on two previous occasions - was that there was no traffic plan associated with the application. A traffic plan is required to ensure that coaches can pick up and drop off students safely and that future club parking would be appropriately managed.
The Inspector was clear that current traffic arrangements associated with coach movements around Stoke Lodge are 'inconvenient and dangerous' and would be made worse by the redevelopment of the proposed pavilion with a significantly expanded capacity. She also noted that the school's recently-erected fence was likely to make the traffic impact of any redevelopment even worse, since it would focus users on a single entry point at the end of a narrow residential cul de sac. Residents were able to provide evidence, including photographs and video, to substantiate the difficulties and dangers caused by heavy parking and coach transit on local roads (see our Transport page for more details).
We Love Stoke Lodge welcomes the Inspector's findings, but regrets that Cotham students and sports users will now be without proper changing facilities for an extended period of time due to the school's failure to deal with traffic issues. We fully agree that the pavilion needs to be redeveloped and have offered on many occasions to sit down with the school to find appropriate solutions to the range of contentious issues at Stoke Lodge. We hope that the school will be willing to engage in those discussions following this latest development.
Over just a few weeks in summer 2018, Bristol City Council planning officers performed a dramatic u-turn which allowed Cotham School to put up a 1.5km long, 2m high metal fence around the historic estate of a listed building with no planning application and no landlord oversight.
In doing so, officers turned curtilage land into non-curtilage land and declared that the security fence is 'not a structure'. What was going on behind the scenes? Our three videos let you decide for yourself, on the basis of evidence obtained under Freedom of Information rules.
Part 1: https://youtu.be/-66DIVdZEys (10 mins)
Part 2: https://youtu.be/5DUVV6Vdz7Q (8 mins)
Part 3: https://youtu.be/5sX_uV38Q5E (8 mins)
Please take the time to watch and ask yourself:
· Is it appropriate for a school to write to a council saying they should '...not give the community a chink to pop at'?
· Should a council reverse a 20-year view on curtilage based on entirely inadequate and biased material provided by an interested party?
· Has Bristol City Council retro fitted legal advice to a decision they had already made?
· Do Bristol developers just need political clout and closed doors at City Hall to get what they want?
· Can democracy win the day? What actions could BCC take to rectify this?
The actions of BCC officers are now being investigated by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, following our complaint of maladministration. The process will take several months - we will keep you posted!
When Cotham School arrived at Stoke Lodge, without warning, to build a 2m high, mile long high security fence our amazing community came together at Stoke Lodge to protect many beautiful protected trees. So many people gave up hours on thier time standing in the freezing cold, sleet, snow and rain for over 8 weeks - making a huge difference. One of the fabulous 'tree watch team' is also a great musican - listen to this ! What goes up...WILL COME DOWN.