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Residents prepare to oppose school expansion tomorrow

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: January 17, 2014

By Samantha Payne samantha.payne@courier.co.uk

  • Expansion: Broomhill Bank School in Tunbridge Wells TWPL20140115A-001_C.JPG

  • PL0802073/1 BROOMHILL L to r John Davies ( Kent Couty Counciller ) Ian Duncan-Smith MP Greg Clarke MP ( kneeling ) Phil Barnett ( Head ) and Emma Leitch ( dep head ) meet girls from Broomhill School ( no names by request )

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PLANS to expand a special needs school on the edge of Tunbridge Wells have sparked anger from residents and motorists in nearby parishes.

Broomhill Bank School wants to increase its pupil intake from 80 to 136 places by 2017 by improving its existing facilities.

The school, in Broomhill Bank Road, which teaches 11 to 19-year-olds with learning difficulties, will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday about the proposal.

But many residents fear that by expanding the school, it will have a detrimental impact on the area.

Rusthall Parish Council chairman Jenny Blackburn said: "I feel that residents of Rusthall will be concerned because of the increase in traffic on Broomhill Road.

"It needs Kent Highways to assess that road for its inadequacy."

The road, which meets Lower Green Road, has many pinch points and not enough passing capacity, she said.

Mrs Blackburn also fears it will increase congestion on the road, on top of existing plans lodged with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to build a five star hotel on the David Saloman's estate.

She added: "The two coming together is going to be a nightmare."

Speldhurst Parish Council has been looking at implementing traffic calming measures in the road.

Chris May, the council clerk, said: "We have concerns about the traffic already and this will only make things worse."

Resident Sue Fallon, 74, from Shirley Gardens, who often uses Broomhill Road to get to Southborough, to avoid Tunbridge Wells, said: "There is going to be more traffic going up and down there with extra children going through.

"There is also going to be accidents and that sort of thing. The road is just not built for it."

Rusthall ward councillor Victor Webb said: "Sixty extra pupils, parents, and teachers will put the pressure on. We obviously need to have more places but is this the best place?"

But head teacher Emma Leitch said this was a positive move for the school and increasing the cohort to 136 would be done incrementally year-on-year.

She said: "I, and my highly-talented governors and staff welcome this opportunity to work with the local authority to grow our facilities and expertise so that we can share these more widely with a larger number of some of Kent's most vulnerable children and their families."

The consultation will run until February 28. The public meeting on Tuesday at the school will start at 7pm.

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  • bearblue  |  January 23 2014, 1:48PM

    So people who use it as a short cut don't want other people to use it...

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