The pavilion - two rejected applications
Bristol City Council have twice refused planning permission for a new pavilion to be built by Cotham School at Stoke Lodge due to transport issues. The school refused three requests to meet with the Council to discuss transport arrangements as part of the last application. Councillors told the school that they would never usually refuse a school's planning request but they had no choice.
Many locals support the school's plans for a new pavilion but need a viable transport plan to make it safe for Cotham's pupils and local redidents. BCC gave the following reason for refusing planning permission:
'The proposed enlarged and enhanced changing facilities would increase the intensity of usage of the facilities by Cotham School as well as community sports teams and that would in turn be associated with a significant increase in vehicle and coach traffic and parking demand unsuited to the local highway network surrounding the site. Therefore, based on the information provided, it is considered that the proposal would give rise to unacceptable traffic and highway safety conditions. '
The appeal - rejected
Cotham School appealed against that refusal. In the mean time however they have built security fence around the field and returned to Stoke Lodge for the first time in five years. They have installed two toilets in an old maintanace shed and have been using the fields since mid March. However they have done so with no transport plan in place.
On 24 May 2019 the Planning Inspectorate rejected the school's appeal, noting that the traffic situation was already 'inconvenient and dangerous' and that an expanded pavilion would exacerbate the situation. Added to that, they said that the fence makes things considerably worse by channelling traffic towards specific entry points on narrow residential streets rather than having cars dispersed around the site.
We as a community are delighted to see both Cotham pupils and clubs using the field: however the lack of a transport plan and any consideration of residents in the arrangements that have been made has had a significant impact on residents and is often dangerous - see the pictures and information below.
We have offered to work with the school however the school have refused our requests. We have emailed and contacted the clubs directly to see if there is anything we as a community could do to support better transport arrangements for club usage at weekends to help avoid the type of congestion and illegal parking demonstrated in the photos provided below.
Coaches have dropped off on Coombe Lane public bus stop and then remained for the duration of the lesson (60 mins plus) on double yellow lines or public bus stops
First buses have had to wait for the coaches to move, or have had to double park or pick up and drop off away from the bus stop and therefore block drives.
Usage has increased significantly: whereas five years ago when the site was last used this was limited to a couple of mornings a week, the school has now increased to five days' usage.
Typically ten coaches per week have arrived to drop off, waited and picked up pupils - 2 each day in addition to after-school and weekend club usage.
Up to 4 coaches have arrived on one day.
Coaches use the minor roads (daily) to complete a circle and collect children from public bus stops for the return journey. Sometimes mini-buses have brought Cotham School children for after-school matches using minor roads and getting stuck - reversing onto main roads and on pavements around tight corners.
Coaches have also parked illegally blocking driveways - and, more recently, sticking out onto the dangerous corner at the bottom of Parrys Lane, also blocking Ebenezer Lane.
It was amazing to see a club back at Stoke Lodge but as a result every road around the Lodge was chaos and members found it really hard to park - especially as they didn't know where the gates in the fence were.
Sadly there were many cars parked illegally and in very dangerous spots.
This small road was one of many blocked up with cars - many locals not able to access / leave their driveways.