Dec 7 2012 By Jack Griffith
PLANS for the controversial new primary school on green belt land at Lake Farm Country Park have finally been lodged by Hillingdon Council.
Now available to view in detail on the council's website, the school the local authority wants to build is three forms of entry, to accept up to 630 children, and have a nursery, hard and soft play areas, sports pitches, and a Special Resource Provision Unit.
It would be spread across about five acres, and be located at the eastern end of Lake Farm Country Park, between Botwell Lane and Botwell Common Road, Hayes - currently green belt land.
Should it gain planning permission, it would be ready for a September 2014 intake.
The council insists that the site is the 'most ideally suited to serve the area of demand', but critics, including John McDonnell MP and the Hillingdon Labour Group, have demanded that the green belt be protected at all costs, and suggested that alternatives hadn't been properly considered.
The application documents reveal that the borough looked at 25 possible sites for a new school, including Cranford, Barra Hall and Minet Country Parks and various playing fields, and significantly expanding some existing primary schools were amongst the options.
The local authority identified a school place deficit in the coming years, and this school, along with a borough-wide expansion programme at existiing schools, is intended to address the demand.
News of the council's intentions for Lake Farm, revealed in July 2011, was met with widespread uproar.
More than 100 residents held a demonstration opposing the loss of green belt in February this year.
There have also been calls for a public consultation, which has started now the application has been formally submitted.
You can can view and comment on the application by visiting www.hillingdon.gov.uk/planning, and searching for application reference number 68911/APP/2012/2983.
Alternatively, you can write to Jean Palmer, Director of Planning, Civic Centre, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1UW, and quote the reference number in the letter.
What do you make of the council's Lake Farm school project? Should the green belt be protected under all circumstances, or is the need to provide primary school places more pressing? Email firstname.lastname@example.org