Ealing Fields High School - Feedback from EFRA on Public Meeting on 28th March

See below the feed back from the EFRA  sub committee to Kate Bellerby - 

Dear Kate

We much appreciated the opportunity to attend the public consultation meeting in March and were grateful for the time offered by the developers, contractors and representatives from the school to respond to questions posed by local residents.  As representatives of Ealing Fields Residents Association  (EFRA) we wish formally to offer our comments on the proposals as they currently stand.  These broadly reflect those already submitted by  our EFRA colleague James Guest, who has submitted his comments on a personal basis.
Generally we applaud the plans to provide a new school on the former King Fahad site and appreciate the effort being put in to preserve the historical element of the buildings, as far as possible.   However, we have some further thoughts and comments on the proposals, as set out below. 
Boundary Walls

We are aware of the proposal to erect a fence along the boundary wall with the Birkbeck Road gardens for safety and security purposes and we hope that the rest of the boundary walls on the site, including the Convent Gardens gates will be secured in a similar way.
Emergency Access via Hollies Road
If such an exit is deemed necessary and fit for purpose, stringent terms and conditions will be necessary to prevent its use for other purposes other than emergency evacuation/exit and necessary evacuation drills.  The residents of Hollies Road are extremely concerned about any form of access to the site from their road and the possibility of its misuse.  In addition, both road and pavement are narrow with cars parked either side.  Whilst being concerned more about danger to life and limb in an emergency we hope that damage to property, ie cars etc can be avoided in either exuberant evacuation drills or the panic of a real emergency.
Community Use
We recognise that this would be of benefit to the local community.  However, neighbouring residents are concerned that this would not extend to the use of the outdoor playground area out of normal school hours.

Height and Proximity of the South Block to Convent Gardens and Ealing Park Gardens

Residents of Convent Gardens are concerned firstly about the proximity of the proposed South Block to the existing boundary wall and secondly about the height of the planned three-storey building.  We would like to see the proposed block set back from the building edge, as indicated in para 4 of James Guest's submission to you.  This would help also to alleviate residents' concerns about being overlooked into their first-floor rooms by a new three-storey building.

Access to the site from Convent Gardens

We note that access from Convent Gardens is proposed solely for service vehicles.  As proposals currently stand, there would appear to be very little turning space for any large vehicles - eg delivery vans etc coming onto the site.  If the South Block were set back, as indicated in the above para, this might provide some additional turning space.   Residents are aware that delivery vehicles coming into the lower part of Convent Gardens (towards the site) constantly have problems and simply park their lorries/vans etc whilst making their deliveries and then reverse out;  similarly the garbage and recycling collectors do this every week, causing huge disturbance and blocking to people when trying to exit their cars.  

In addition, we note that it is proposed to use the building for community use and would hope that no access via Convent Gardens would be available for people using the building outside school times. 

Access to the site during demolition and rebuilding

We have been advised that the biggest problem for the local shops when the King Fahad  school was being renovated was what was described as chaos as vehicles tried to enter the site by turning right.  We therefore ask that the developer ensures that anyone working on the site turns left both to enter and leave via the Little Ealing Lane entrance to ensure that at no point are they crossing traffic.  We would urgently ask that this request is stipulated when work commences on site.
Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs: We are fully on board regarding the observation of the preservation orders for the mature trees, particularly the sycamores. They will help create privacy for the school as well as surrounding residents. As mentioned when we met in February, there are question marks surrounding the Leylandii in particular. These have grown very large, block some sunlight and are in danger of uprooting during strong winds. They do however provide shelter for birds, particularly during nesting season and some privacy for residents. We feel that there is merit in replacing the Leylandii with more appropriate trees or large shrubs to encourage a green screen between the school and residents and provide a replacement for birds.
Birkbeck Road Fence: we would appreciate a model that supports vegetation (climbers or shrubs) so that it blends in with the surrounding area.
Vermin is already a problem in this area - particularly in roads bordering the school site.  Many residents have approached EFRA about this problem escalating once work starts on site.  We hope that the contractors will do their utmost to eradicate all vermin before work starts to prevent onward movement, particularly of foxes and rats, and will continue to monitor and deal with it once demolition commences.
With best wishes
Jane Cocking/Wendy Hallam/Rosmarie Matter/Patricia Judd
EFRA Sub-committee