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3rd October 2002

7079 Minutes: of a meeting of the Silverdale Parish Council held in the Green Room of the Gaskell Hall, on Monday 3rd October 2002.

7080 Present: Councillor Mr C.J. Eden (Chairman), Councillors Mrs S.M. Fishwick, Mr A. Graves, Mrs J. Greenwell, the Clerk, and approximately 40 members of the public.
7081 Apologies for Absence: Councillors Mr T.B. Fryer, Mr R. Henderson and Mr A. Houghton.

7082 Suspension of Standing Orders: All members having been previously been notified within the agenda, it was proposed via the Chairman that Standing Order 28 be suspended in order to allow members of the public and representatives of Ridgway Park School to speak freely and without the restrictions which normally apply at Parish Council meetings. Unanimously RESOLVED that Standing Order 28 be suspended for the duration of item 3 (address by a representative from Ridgway Park School) and items 4 of the agenda (observations from members of the public concerning the published proposals for the development of the School together with ‘satellite’ housing units and, in particular to receive recommendations from members of the public regarding the relevant Planning Applications).

7083 Address by Mr John Bolton, Deputy Head Teacher, Ridgway Park School: Mr Bolton commenced by addressing the question of where it was proposed to purchase off-site properties and confirmed that the School would definitely not be purchasing any additional properties within the parish of Silverdale (and, in response to a question from a member of the public, he confirmed that the School would not be using any property in Silverdale which might be given to them). He confirmed however that the School had already agreed to purchase a property in Nether Kellet and were seeking to purchase a second property somewhere else.

The School had received several inspections and appraisals from regulating authorities and all reports emanating from same had been excellent.

Although the School is currently registered for a maximum of 32 pupils, aged up to 21 years, it is actually operating with 27 pupils up to the age of 16. The proposed expansion of the premises would increase the maximum to 44 pupils, with any over-16s accommodated in the off-site premises, but being transported into and out of the school for daytime education.

Mr Bolton produced large scale plans to assist in describing the expansion plans for the existing premises .



7084 Observations and recommendations by members of the public: There were many questions and comments, mainly concerning the increase in vehicular traffic, which would need to use the narrow lane leading to the site.

Although the increase of staff was indicated as being from 53 persons to just 60, or maybe 65 persons, it was felt that this was an underestimate and that the increase would need to be significantly greater.

Cllr Fishwick made reference to the quotation within the Planning Statement, submitted by the School, to the effect that the premises are served by public transport. This statement was considered to be misleading and it was thought unlikely that many, if any, members of staff would journey to and from the School by means other than motorised vehicles.

Comment was made about the actions taken by staff, and sometimes the police, in the event of children absconding from the School. In such an event it had been noted that relevant members of staff felt the need to drive at excessive speeds in order to ‘overtake’ the missing children. There were also many comments about members of staff driving at dangerously high speeds, particularly at change-of-shift times.

During the course of this debate, Mr Bolton made mention of the intention to make the new facilities available for use by members of the public and he made reference to an approach having been made to the Lancaster and Morecambe College. In response to the comments that this would further increase traffic, he stated that the College would only be asked to organise activities for use by residents of Silverdale.

Cllr Greenwell made reference to a suggestion that the existing coastal footpath running past the School, should be made into a bridleway. If this comes about, it will inevitably result in an increase of persons using this route for recreational horse-riding and cycling. Such use would be imperilled by the increase of vehicular traffic caused by the development of the School.

In concluding this section of the meeting, the Chairman accepted that the overwhelming recommendation of those members of the public present, was that the Parish Council should object to the Planning Applications and oppose any expansion of the School which would result in an increase of staff and/or pupil numbers. He also reminded members of the public that they were entitled to make their own representations direct to Lancaster City Council.

7085 Reinstatement of Standing Orders: In moving on to item 5 of the agenda, the Chairman announced that Standing Order 28 would be reinstated. Members of the public were invited to remain for the following item, but were reminded that they were not permitted to speak during the debate about the submitted planning applications.

7086 Planning: Members discussed the approach to be taken to the four applications. Whilst it was accepted that Lancaster City Council will probably deal with each of the four applications separately, as per normal procedure, it was not considered appropriate in this instance, for the Parish Council to follow the same procedure. The Clerk will submit the same consultation comment for all four applications, as if they had been submitted as one.

It was noted that the proposals do not indicate details for dealing with sewage treatment and disposal and this in itself would be an adequate reason for requiring further information before a decision could be made. It was however felt that this was a supplementary issue and that the principle concern relates to an increase in traffic.

The Chairman presented a draft resolution, which was discussed and slightly amended.

RESOLVED that a consultation response be sent to Lancaster City Council as follows:

The Parish Council has received copies of four separate Planning Applications:

02/01022/FUL – Ridgway Park School: erection of single storey rear extension to

existing summer house to form bedroom (scheme 4).

02/01032/FUL – Ridgway Park School: extension and alterations to

Milnthorpe Lodge (scheme 3).

02/01034/FUL – Ridgway Park School: erection of extension to existing school

building to form new dining room with bedrooms over (scheme 2).

02/01103/FUL – Ridgway Park School: erection of a new school building (scheme 1).

It is noted that the four “schemes” (as specified by the applicant) comprise one major project, supported by a Planning Statement. The response of the Parish Council applies to each application and to the whole project, without differentiation.

The Parish Council OBJECTS to the project on the grounds that the location of the current site makes it unsuitable for further development. The principle basis for this statement is that the site is served by a single access route which comprises unclassified roads, which are of a ‘single track’ width in parts and where there are very limited facilities for vehicles to pass each other. The current usage of these roads by staff, visitors and trade vehicles is already stretching the capacity to the extent of being almost intolerable. Any increase in the number of vehicles visiting the site would be totally unacceptable. Members feel confident that a ‘traffic survey’ would endorse their concern about traffic on the approach lanes to the School. It is noted that the applicant does not intend to increase on-site car parking facilities, but it is felt that this would not result in the traffic being pegged at the current levels, despite the declared intention to encourage the use of bicycles.

It is noted that the Planning Statement also refers to the intention to accommodate extra children in “off-site” houses, with the children travelling to and from the school for educational purposes. Whilst the four applications do not relate to these “off-site” projects directly, it is considered that this item, within the Planning Statement submitted with all four applications, should be considered by the Planning Committee, as it further exacerbates the road usage problems of this site.

The further development of this School is out of keeping with the sensitive and beautiful nature of this part of the AONB.

It is also noted that the applicant has failed to provide satisfactory details of the arrangements for treatment and disposal of sewage.

The Parish Council asks that Lancaster City Council should present these applications to a meeting of the full Planning Committee

7087 The Chairman thanked members of the Council and members of the public for attending and declared the meeting closed at 2130hrs.


Peter G. Challenor

Clerk to the Council.

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