Sunday 29 July 2012

ODA Planning Meeting

It was the ODA planning meeting about the Gainsborough School replacement bridge this week in Old Stratford Town Hall. Lots of Wick Village residents came to watch in the public gallery, no one representing the school was present.

The LLDC, Hackney Council and the architects gave a presentation about the proposal for the bridge. Adriy Shulga (our manager) and Ian White (resident) both spoke passionately in opposition of the application. John Gardner (the ODA planning officer) strongly advised the councillors to approve the plan.

One by one the councillors stood and spoke in our favour. They picked up on every point we had made and said that the application had not taken into consideration the needs of Wick Village residents. They pointed out that the ramp would take up 30% of our communal area, and the rest would not be usable as a garden. They recognised the difficulties of public access. They said that the applicants had not proposed any plans for the remainder of the space if the ramp was put in, or how access would be managed. They pointed out there were two public bridges in close proximity. They called the application 'lazy' and said that a more 'creative' solution must be found.

The replacement bridge is in 2007 legacy legislation, which also requires it to be public access (contrary to what we were told in the consultation). This means that the plan could not be refused, so the councillors voted that it be deferred. They stipulated that to be re-considered the applicants must: work with residents to find a solution we feel happy with, consider moving the school wall back to allow space for ramp in the playground, consider using school car parking space to enlarge playground, consider making the ramp part of the play space using an imaginative design. They also proposed to look at the original legislation to see if it was still relevant.

All our hard work paid off, and against all odds we managed to halt the ODA machine! It was the best possible result for us. No one in Wick Village thinks the school shouldn't have a bridge, we just don't think it should go in our communal space. But the battle's not over yet and we must make sure they work with us and listen to us on the new plans. Anyone who would like to get involved please contact me, Andriy or Val (our chair). 

The original bridge (now demolished) which went straight into the school play ground 

The barbecue area from across the canal with Gainsborough School in the background

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