New Braiswick Primary School

Information added 31 January 2017

LIAISON MEETING AT BRAISWICK PRIMARY SCHOOL 20 JANUARY 2017

Present:
Alan Randall (AR) – Site Manager
Nicola Whybrow (NW) – Deputy Head Teacher
Sue Triscott (ST) – Abacus Kindergarten
Elaine Simms (ES) – Abacus Kindergarten
Emma Powell (EP) – Colchester Borough Council Zone 4 Warden
Sharon Dulwich (SD) – New Braiswick Park Resident
Chris Law (CL) - Fernlea resident
Rob Waites (RW) - Braiswick Residents’ Association

1. Apologies had been received from Martin Goss.

2. AR said that Lorraine Laudrum (LL) was unable to attend the meeting and that he had been asked to take the chair. NW was attending as Lorraine’s representative.

3. The Abacus Kindergarten was now up and running and AR said so far as site management was concerned to date it had not made much difference. ST said that this may not be a true picture until the facility is up to capacity (56 pupils). At present they have 20 children with approximately 80% having siblings attending Braiswick Primary School. Sue also said that the Breakfast/ After School Club was in operation with 16 children per session.

4. NW confirmed that the main school currently had 170 pupils on roll

5. EP explained that she was one of the two Wardens in Community Zone 4. The Zone Manager was Casey Harrison and there was also a team of operatives. The team dealt with many different types of jobs from maintenance work, environmental clean ups and education, dog mess, graffiti, community events and visiting vulnerable members of the community.

6. CL said that it had been noticed that some parental cars were parking at the top of Fernlea. RW said he had observed one case where a house drive was temporarily blocked although a parent remained with the car. CL said he had seen a parent leave a child alone in their car whilst walking another child to school through the Fernlea pedestrian access. AR said that he was normally patrolling the access road and site parking at dropping off and picking-up times and would walk up and check Fernlea if advised of parking issues.

7. AR asked if Apprentice Drive had experienced any parking issues recently. ST said that she had observed one nursery parent parking in Apprentice Drive and spoke to her. The parent had not realised that there was on-site parking for the ‘early years’.

8. AR said that there was no reason why the parking situation cannot be managed within the current site provision. There was ample space and temporary double parking during dropping-off and picking-up would not be a problem. It just required education.

9. CL had written complaints from Fernlea residents who had received verbal abuse from drivers using the Fernlea exit. Also information on near misses between vehicles. CL and AR to liaise on these matters.

10. AR & CL with 2 children from the school monitored the Fernlea exit at the morning school drop off time in the week before the Christmas break. Their presence received support from the majority of parents, especially those walking, although there were several vehicles (a minority) that did not stop or slow down before crossing the pavement. It is hoped that this safety awareness exercise can be repeated.

11. RW and CL confirmed that there were still cars exiting onto Fernlea at inappropriate speed. In addition to the exercise described in item 10 above, AR and NW said that the School had covered this issue in newsletters and would continue the message. AR said that ECC had refused to pay for any proper safety/ speed signage on the exit road and although the school had said that it would procure the signs itself if necessary, the matter was not straightforward due to considerations of type and location. AR also made the point that when drivers habitually use the same piece of road they may no longer consciously notice the signs present and then act on them.

12. RW said that as far as was known, the scheme to apply a 20 mph scheme in Fernlea was still on track to be implemented in 2017 subject to the funding being approved at the March 2017 meeting of the Local Highways Panel. AR cautioned that the existence of a 20 mph speed limit did not necessarily mean that average speeds would be any lower than currently!

13. AR said that cases had been noted of non-school traffic driving through the school site purely for the short cut. He was dealing with this although receiving little support from ECC despite undertakings made during the planning stages of the school that this would be prevented. CL said that this issue had been one of the major potential bugbears for residents all along.

14. The Abacus management had opted for a low key start for the new facility but were planning to host some form of ‘meet the team’ event at Easter for residents and prospective users of the kindergarten.

15. There had been a recent break-in to a house in Jonquil Way whose rear garden backs onto the school site. The perpetrator had made their escape over the rear fence onto the school site and had been recorded on the school site CCTV. AR said that he had made the recording available to the police to assist in their investigation.

16. In response to a question from CL, AR confirmed that a rock salt alternative was being used by Mitie on the Fernlea exit road. This is important due to the need to protect the tree roots under the permeable road surface. AR to let CL have details.

17. AR told the meeting that he had tendered his resignation in order to take up a post with Essex Police. The news was met with dismay by the residents present as AR had made a huge contribution towards the good relationship currently existing between the school and local residents and he would be missed. AR said that he would ensure his replacement, when appointed, was fully briefed on the issues and the importance of maintaining the good relationship. AR’s last day in the post would be 17 February 2017. RW thanked him on behalf of residents for all he had done.

18. In LL’s absence, AR said that he would not suggest a date for the next meeting but would leave it to her to arrange.

Information added 22 November 2016

LIAISON MEETING AT BRAISWICK PRIMARY SCHOOL 11 November 2016

Present:
Lorraine Laudrum (LL) - Head Teacher
Alan Randall (AR) – Site Manager
Martin Goss (MG) - CBC Mile End Ward Councillor
Sharon Dulwich (SD) – New Braiswick Park Resident
Chris Law (CL) - Fernlea resident
Rob Waites (RW) - Braiswick Residents’ Association

1. LL confirmed that the selected provider for the ‘early years’ facility was to be ‘Abacus’. It was hoped that the facility would open by Christmas subject to receipt of the necessary OFSTED registration. LL said that Abacus would also be taking over the pre and after school provision which would operate within the 08.00 to 18.00 envelope.

2. LL confirmed that users of the ‘early years’ provision could come from anywhere in the area or beyond. Indeed it could be attractive to commuters who use North Station to go to London. She confirmed that there would be close liaison between ‘early years’ and the school. AR would remain responsible for perimeter security.

3. LL said that the new provider was aware of the site sensitivities and was keen to be represented at the liaison meetings.

4. LL agreed to let RW have contact details for Abacus in order that he can send them a copy of the ‘Request from the School’s Neighbours’ note which the school provides to new parents in their welcome packs. RW to request that Abacus considers providing a copy to their new parents.

5. The school currently has a problem with its post code not guiding ‘SatNav’ users to the correct location. MG to check with CBC mapping team.

6. The camera at the exit gate has been removed for repair. It has been sent back to China for repair which is cheaper than a new camera. It is 8 weeks into a 12-16 week turnaround period.

7. CL said that there continued to be cases of cars speeding out of the exit road into Fernlea. He was concerned that, with the welcome increase in the numbers of parents and children walking to school and using the pedestrian access into the site along the exit road, there was a potential conflict. LL said that she would remind parents of the need for cautious car speeds both on site and using the Fernlea exit in her next news letter.

8. AR said that he had observed people driving on the school site whilst using mobile phones!

9. CL said that in turning down the provision of speed bumps or similar on the exit to Fernlea, ECC had said that there were other ways of controlling speed. These had not been forthcoming. LL said that ECC had undertaken to provide proper road signs and markings on site but that money was apparently not now available. AR said that road legal signs were expensive but very similar and cheaper alternatives are available. LL said that the school would look to funding these from its own resources.

10. As an additional measure to help reduce the incidence of cars exiting the site at excessive speed, it was agreed that AR and CL would periodically stand at the exit (in high visibility jackets) to note/ deter ‘offenders’. LL said that she would consider involving pupils in the monitoring to raise the profile of the issue with parents and as an educational road safety exercise.

11. RW mentioned commuter parking at the top of Fernlea and in the main Braiswick road. This impacts on residents and the school as it is causing tailbacks and reduced visibility for drivers turning out of Fernlea. It is also hampering drivers turning into Fernlea from the main road causing potential hazards. Anne Turrell (ECC Councillor) has raised this with the Local Parking Partnership to see whether additional parking restrictions are possible. This will also be raised and discussed at the Residents’ Association AGM next week.

12. LL said again that, at some stage, school management would have to consider a system of ‘rolling drop-offs’ to stagger the arrival of parents cars entailing delegated staff members escorting the pupils into school.

13. MG said that he was chasing ECC for proper reinstatement of verges in Apprentice Drive together with resolving surface water drainage issues. CL reiterated that similar drainage issues still affected Fernlea properties adjacent to the exit road.

14. It was agreed that the next meeting would be in January 2017 – LL to suggest a suitable date*

*Later agreed to be 20 January 2017.

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Information added 31 October 2016

LIAISON MEETING AT BRAISWICK PRIMARY SCHOOL 23 September 2016

Present:
Lorraine Laudrum (LL) - Head Teacher
Alan Randall (AR) – Site Manager
Dominic Graham (DG) - CBC Mile End Ward Councillor
Pam Nelson (PN) – Colchester Travel Plan Club
Sharon Dulwich (SD) – New Braiswick Park Resident
Chris Law (CL) - Fernlea resident
Rob Waites (RW) - Braiswick Residents’ Association

1. LL confirmed that the selected provider for the early years’ facility, ‘4Children’, had gone into administration. Discussions have been held with the management of the ‘runner-up’ in the original selection process for an early years’ provider. LL said that the prospective new provider had been made aware of sensitivities surrounding the site. The facility would open once OFSTED registration was completed which was likely to be 12-16 weeks. Hours of operation are likely to be 08.00 – 18.00 and it was hoped to provide pre and after school provision within these hours.

2. LL said that the school currently had 167 pupils. Reception and Y1 were full with 60 in each, combined Y2/3 had 20 pupils and Y4/5 30 pupils.

3. AR has been told about parents parking at the end of Fernlea and walking their children into school from there. It might only be 1 or 2 and AR was monitoring the situation as the practice might grow.

4. CL said that speeding out from the Fernlea exit was still a problem and AR concurred. CL gave AR a written complaint from a resident concerning a confrontation with a parent which was witnessed by another parent following on behind.

5. RW gave an update on the proposal for a 20 mph speed limit in Fernlea. This had been ‘validated’ by the Local Highways Panel (LHP) and would be presented at the March 2017 LHP meeting for funding. Anne Turrell (ECC Councillor for the area) has asked that if there is slippage in this year’s programme, consideration be given to Fernlea being advanced.

6. The issue of traffic queuing at the top of Fernlea at school drop off and picking-up times was discussed. It had been reported that on some occasions this can tail back to the junction with Stonecrop. RW said that the problem is exacerbated by commuter parking at the top of Fernlea which effectively allows only 1 car at a time to pass. This also causes problems for cars turning into Fernlea. DG said that he would look into the issue.

LL said that as pupil numbers increase the school management would have to consider a system of ‘rolling drop-offs’ to stagger the arrival of parents cars. This would entail delegated staff members escorting the pupils into school. LL said that she would not want to implement this until it was necessary as the informal contact between parents and teachers under the current arrangements was a positive.

7. AR said that as far as he was aware the timing of the site lighting was correct and not causing problems. The timing would need to be adjusted soon to allow for the clocks going back to GMT from BST (30 October). The proposed ‘turn-off’ time was 19.45.

8. PN suggested that the School ‘Travel Plan’ be revisited with parents to encourage them to appreciate the issues and potential solutions. She also suggested that the ‘Bikeability’ scheme be considered for in-school training which could include parents in holiday time. RW asked if this was like the ‘Cycling Proficiency Scheme’ and PN said it’s similar to the old scheme but better! Children’s training in term time was funded by ECC.

9. PD reported that there was still debris near the School entrance in Apprentice Drive to be cleared. There were still apparently drainage problems in Apprentice Drive. CL said that this was still an issue along the Fernlea exit due to the lack of proper drainage provision thereunder. Water was still leaking into the land of no. 57 Fernlea. It has yet to be resolved by ECC.

10. In conclusion CL wished to record that Fernlea residents appreciated the efforts made by the school management to minimise issues and potential problems which affect them.

11. Next meeting provisionally arranged for 11 November 2016 at 8.00 A.M.

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Information added 25 April 2016

LIAISON MEETING HELD AT SCHOOL 18 MARCH 2016

Present:
Lorraine Laudrum (LL) - Head Teacher
Alan Randall (AR) – Site Manager
Martin Goss (MG) - CBC Mile End Ward Councillor
Pam Nelson (PN) – Colchester Travel Plan Club
Sharon Dulwich (SD) – New Braiswick Park Resident
Chris Law (CL) - Fernlea resident
Rob Waites (RW) - Braiswick Residents’ Association

1. The meeting was the second liaison meeting held between the school management and local residents’ representatives to discuss mutual issues and concerns and to establish effective communications between the parties.

2. PN explained that the Colchester Travel Plan Club is a network of businesses and organisations committed to promoting active and sustainable travel. The organisation is supported and sponsored by Colchester Borough Council The emphasis is on creating positive travel behaviour change and can offer public transport discounts to member organisations, cycle skills training and cycle to work schemes. It was assisting the school with meeting the aims and targets set in the school’s own travel plan and maximising use of public transport and walking etc. LL said that a surprising number of current pupils/ parents already use the bus service.

3. LL said that Amy from ECC had hoped to be at the meeting but was unfortunately unwell. She had supplied LL with an email with comments on various issues:
a. ‘Snagging’ works to the external areas of the school were still in progress. SD pointed out that building materials and a pile of mud had been left along the Apprentice Drive frontage.
b. Tree works on the school site were being planned and the required permits under the Tree Protection Orders affecting the site had been applied for. CL said that some of the trees near the boundary with the Fernlea development were felt by residents to require attention. LL said that as far as she was aware all trees on site had been surveyed and works planned as required.
c. It was confirmed that the provider for the ‘Early Year’s’ centre should be appointed sometime in April and that the operating hours would be 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.
d. The question of parking restrictions and signage on adjoining roads was still under consideration. (note: this is covered by a planning requirement and £10,000 has been allocated by ECC to cover the costs. However there is a period of up to 5 years for implementation – presumably from September 2015). MG said that Anne Turrell had recently raised this topic with Martin Mason at ECC.

4. RW and CL confirmed that some vehicles were still exiting into Fernlea without due care and attention and at speed. RW said that the 20 mph zone application for Fernlea/ Stonecrop was under consideration by the authorities however the recent speed monitoring equipment set up, had, in his opinion, been placed incorrectly for this purpose. Speed in itself was not the only issue. Another important one being that Fernlea bisected the only usable open space on the Fernlea development. It was unfenced and there was the potential for children to run across the road.

5. CL mentioned that there appears to be a high volume of vehicles using the Fernlea School exit and asked how many pupils come from outside the schools admission area. LL replied that this was about 40% of the current attendance.

6. AR said that ‘naming and shaming’ of persistent offenders was an option if details could be passed to him. He said that recently he had reported a taxi driver both for ignoring the one way system and abusive language when this was pointed out.

7. RW suggested that a joint school/ residents’ leaflet on the subject of safety on the adjoining residential roads be produced for inclusion in the welcome pack for new parents. He would be happy to draw up an initial draft for consideration. This was agreed.

8. LL confirmed that ECC would retain ownership of the wild life areas on the school site together with the entrance/ exit roads. The Educational Trust would be receiving a licence of these areas subject to 5 yearly reviews. RW and CL made the point that it was unclear to residents and thus a continuing issue as to why ECC should not grant the same lease on these areas to the Educational Trust as for the main school site. It raised suspicions and unease as to ECC future plans for the land in question.

9. CL suggested that normally a licence comes with a notice period for termination and asked what period applied in this case. LL was unsure but would investigate.

10. MG said that the land on the school site to be used for wild life areas had not been put forward in the recent ‘call for sites’ exercise in connection with the update of the local plan for the period 2017-2032. Thus in theory any future application in this time frame for housing use would be immediately rejected.

11. ECC retention of the exit road could possibly pose a problem with installation of a speed bump thereon which it had been commonly agreed would lead to a significant reduction in speed of exiting vehicles (although it would not of course prevent them accelerating down Fernlea through the open space area.)

12. CL asked what functions are coming up in the school calendar where high volume of visitors may be present. LL stated that Sports day was on 8th June 2016 and the same requests to limit vehicle movements would be given to parents as those used for the Christmas Plays e.g. car sharing and visiting relatives parking on parents’ drives.

13. LL confirmed that she expected around 120 children would be attending the school from September 2016 with the number increasing to 180 or so as the school year progressed.

14. LL said that she had had a complaint regarding noise from some residents in Jonquil Way (on the Fernlea development). Apparently children had been undertaking an out of doors activity on what is or will become part of the wild life area near to the boundary fence with the Jonquil Way properties. She said that unless they can use these areas it would not be worth undertaking the cost of preparing and maintain them. CL explained that this was probably a ‘hang-over’ from the adverse reaction felt by residents who had lived in their houses for over 30 years prior to the school being built. It was agreed that this was understandable however the school was a fait accompli and had to make reasonable use of the land attached to the school. One option might be to invite affected residents into school to see what the children are doing – knowing what is going on sometimes makes such issues less stressful.

15. LL also said that there had been issues with the alarm recently but these had been dealt with and should not reoccur.

16. CL asked if there had been a problem with the opening and closing of the exit gate and AR said that dampness had got into the control box requiring it to be reprogrammed. This has been dealt with.

17. CL reported that the cooking smells which he had raised as an issue at the last meeting had not reoccurred. LL said that no changes had been made to the ventilation and filter equipment other than to check that it was working correctly.

18. LL said that pupils from the school will be involved with the proposed street party on New Braiswick Park to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

19. Subsequent to the meeting LL proposed 29th April 8.00 a.m. for the next liaison meeting

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LIAISON MEETING HELD AT SCHOOL 5 FEBRUARY 2016

Information added 17 February 2016

Notes of meeting held 5 February 2016

Present: Lorraine Laudrum - Head Teacher
Martin Goss - CBC Mile End Ward Councillor
Chris Law - Fernlea resident
Rob Waites - Braiswick Residents’ Association

1. The meeting was to discuss issues arising since the school opening last September affecting local residents and to establish effective communications between them and the school. This was agreed to be in the best interests of all parties.

2. Lorraine opened the meeting by responding to a previous question from Chris in respect of the Terms of the Educational Trust’s lease agreements with ECC. This is still being discussed between the respective legal teams but it would appear that the licenced sections including the proposed wild life area and Fernlea exit road will be subject to a 5 yearly review. The Trust is considering the implications of this.

3. Lorraine said that 61 pupils were attending the school with this likely to increase by 120 in September 2016 raising the total to 180. It could take up to 3 years before the current capacity of the school (420) is reached.

4. Lorraine confirmed the exit gates to Fernlea were controlled by intercom from the office. Due to the impracticality of opening/ closing the gates for each car during ‘dropping-off’ and ‘picking-up’ they were left open for a limited time at the start and end of the school day. The start of the school day is 8.40am for 8.50 registration. The end of the school day was 15.05 for the younger children and 15.10 for the older ones. Different times for the closing of the exit gate at the start and end of the school day were being trialled.

5. There was a discussion on reducing vehicle speed when exiting the school site via Fernlea. Lorraine confirmed the school were supportive of this issue and had discussed it with ECC. The school were prepared to fund a traffic calming speed bump if ECC were not prepared to. ECC had apparently raised concerns about this (subsequent to the meeting Lorraine heard from Amy (ECC) that the concerns related to the fact that the road had not been through its ‘snagging’ period. ECC would thus like installation of a speed bump delayed for a few months to allow for this).
Martin and Chris confirmed that they considered a speed bump to be an appropriate and proportionate measure to take rather than a rumble strip which could create a noise problem. It was agreed that this matter would be taken further.

6. Potential future community use of the school premises was discussed. Lorraine said that in principle, this seemed reasonable bearing in mind that it was a publically funded facility. She said that the layout of the school (e.g. access to toilet facilities from the main hall) was not ideal for this. She was aware of planning conditions on community use, time limitations and local resident consultations but emphasised that the school management had not yet determined a policy on community use.

7. Rob and Chris said that the concerns were vehicle noise and parking issues associated with use of the facilities outside of normal school activities e.g. school plays, open evenings etc. They felt that during such events it was almost certain that the current school parking facilities would be inadequate. Lorraine said in respect of school plays it was very likely that performances would be staggered by year group so that numbers attending at one time would be controlled. There would be a limitation on the number of tickets issued per family and, for non-local relatives, a request to park at the pupil’s parents’ house. This works well at other trust schools. Martin said that in dealing with similar problems at Queen Boudicca School, it was school drop-off and pick-up times which generated the most complaints from residents rather than school functions.

8. Lorraine mentioned that there had been an issue with security lights on site remaining on but these have recently been reprogrammed and should now be going on for a time at 6.00am each morning and then again in the evening until 19.30. These were of course winter operating times and the advent of summer time removed the need.

9. Chris raised the question of potential overloading of the Fernlea exit by heavy vehicles. There had been some doubt over the exact design loading of the road however ECC had confirmed that this was 30 tons.

Chris was convinced that contractor’s vehicles in excess of 30 tons had used the exit in the past but had received a very ‘brusque’ response from the Site Agent. Chris mentioned buses/ coaches and the possibility that a new generation of refuse vehicles and fire appliances may be over the road design loading. Also deliveries to the school. (Subsequent to the meeting Lorraine has ascertained that the weight of school coaches would not exceed 18 tons even when completely filled with adults).

Chris said that, along with stop and speed signs on the exit road, a weight restriction sign should also be considered. The school management could also inform any future contractors or deliveries to the site of the weight restriction. Rob said that this and the sign would protect the school’s position should any damage or subsidence occur to the road due to excessive loading.

10. Chris mentioned that recently his house had been affected by cooking smells emanating from the school kitchen which is on the side of the building facing Fernlea. Chris said that this issue had been raised with Amy (ECC) who confirmed that the specification of the ventilation and filter installation met the required standards. It was agreed that the school would check the system to ensure the filters etc. were installed and operating correctly.

11. At the conclusion of the meeting it was agreed that it had been a very useful exercise and that further meetings would be held periodically to review and discuss issues. A date was set for another meeting on Friday 18 March at 08.00.
Martin, Chris and Rob thanked Lorraine for affording the opportunity to meet and for the hospitality provided.

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