Jun 7 2011 By Siba Matti
MOBILE classrooms will be installed in two schools in Hillingdon to address a shortage of places in the borough.
Double classroom units will be erected at Harlyn Primary School, in Northwood Hills, and Glebe Primary School, in Ickenham, both for a temporary period of three years.
The proposals were approved by Hillingdon Council's north planning committee on Thursday (2). Both schools must be restored to their former state by June 2014.
Each classroom can hold up to 60 pupils, together with storerooms, toilet facilities and a lobby.
Four additional staff will be employed at each school to accommodate the extra students.
The two schools, in Tolcarne Drive and Sussex Road respectively, already have a number of existing temporary buildings.
The decision to approve the classrooms was made despite objections from residents in both Northwood Hills and Ickenham.
They argued the additional pupils would exacerbate ongoing traffic and parking problems and have an impact on road and pedestrian safety, particularly during pick up and drop off times.
One Northwood Hills resident said: "Tolcarne Drive is increasingly being used by learner drivers and as a rat-run for traffic between Pinner and Northwood Hills; a potentially lethal cocktail in relation to the safety of children."
A highway engineer conceded there were issues relating to congestion and illegal and indiscriminate parking in both areas, but said such conditions are typical of most sites in London.
As part of the agreement, a review of each school's travel plan will be submitted to the council three months after completion of the building.
Glebe School headmaster, Nick Alford, said: "We are always pleased when our facilities are improved.
"In 2006 we had 280 students and this has risen to about 376, so this development reflects our growing number of pupils.
"I imagine developments such as Ickenham Park will also have a future impact on us, as the closest school.
"We are aware of the traffic issues and we encourage parents to leave their cars at home and walk or cycle to school where possible."
Echoing Mr Alford, headmistress of Harlyn School, Jackie Lack, added: "We are very pleased to have the much-needed additional and up-to-date facilities, and see this as a very positive thing.
"We do ask parents to share cars but people lead such busy lives so this isn't always possible.
"We will work with residents to try and minimise disruption."
According to the council, a rise in birth rates from 2008, coupled with net in-migration and new large scale housing developments, have led to a significant need for additional primary school classrooms across the borough.
To ease the crisis, the council aims to install an additional 34 classrooms in the next five years.
As reported in the Gazette, another temporary classroom has been approved for Highfield Primary School, in Charville Lane West, Hillingdon.
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