School face pros­e­cu­tion over green belt car park

Tar­mac area cre­ated to help ease ‘night­mare traf­fic’

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A HAYES school is fac­ing pros­e­cu­tion, af­ter they built a makeshift car park on green belt land to ease ‘traf­fic chaos’ for par­ents and pupils.

Hilling­don Coun­cil has be­gun pros­e­cu­tion pro­ceed­ings against Guru Nanak Garib Ni­waj Education So­ci­ety, af­ter fail­ing to re­move a bitumen sur­face area they cre­ated, with­out plan­ning per­mis­sion, on the land off Spring­field Road in Hayes.

The so­ci­ety, which runs the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy, bought the land in 2015 and had not sought plan­ning per­mis­sion to turn the land into a makeshift car park.

This hard-stand­ing area is on a for­mer foot­ball pitch next to Minet Coun­try Park and vi­o­lates the coun­cil’s plan­ning poli­cies in pro­tect­ing green spa­ces and play­ing pitches.

Af­ter nu­mer­ous site in­spec­tions, the school was served with an En­force­ment No­tice in Oc­to­ber 2015, which re­quired them to re­move the hard sur­faced area and re­turn it to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion by the end of Jan­uary 2016.

The school has failed to take ac­tion so the coun­cil has started le­gal pro­ceed­ings.

Cllr Keith Bur­rows, Hilling­don Coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber for plan­ning, trans­porta­tion and re­cy­cling, said: “Preserving our green spa­ces is a coun­cil pri­or­ity and this pros­e­cu­tion shows how se­ri­ously we take breaches of plan­ning per­mis­sion.

“We are dis­ap­pointed that Guru Nanak Garib Ni­waj Education So­ci­ety has breached plan­ning pol­icy and failed to com­ply with the En­force­ment No­tice.”

But the so­ci­ety say par­ents who drop off and col­lect their chil­dren from Guru Nanak Sikh Academy are fac­ing a “very big health and safety is­sue”, partly caused by lo­cal au­thor­ity park­ing re­stric­tions out­side the school.

Jaspal Bho­gal, speak­ing on be­half of the Guru Nanak Garib Ni­waj Education So­ci­ety, said: “The ar­eas where there are no re­stric­tions are be­ing oc­cu­pied by Heavy Goods Ve­hi­cles of all shapes and sizes as well as busi­nesses which op­er­ate in this area.

“The traf­fic it causes at peak times leads all the way from the school back onto Uxbridge Road.”

The Nanaksar Thath Isher Dar­bar Trust, which owns the green belt land, has spent £50,000 cre­at­ing the tem­po­rary car park, in a bid to ease the prob­lems.

Mr Bho­gal con­tin­ued: “In or­der to help con­trol the sit­u­a­tion the Trust de­cided to let th­ese par­ents use the field of Garib Ni­waj, free of charge, as it is not be­ing used.

“This idea was work­ing un­til the rainy pe­ri­ods started and the field be­came muddy, cars were get­ting stuck, stu­dents and par­ents were slip­ping and their clothes were get­ting cov­ered in mud.

“As a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion the Trust in­vested £50,000 of its own money to lay a tem­po­rary hard sur­face in a small sec­tion of the field to pre­vent any fur­ther is­sues.”

The Coun­cil then served an En­force­ment No­tice on the So­ci­ety, and they have ap­pealed against it, with the de­ci­sion of that ap­peal still pend­ing.

Mr Bho­gal says the coun­cil’s ac­tions are a “very dras­tic de­ci­sion”. He added: “The trust feels very up­set and let down as we were only try­ing to help pro­vide a non-charg­ing and safe so­lu­tion.

“Our ut­most con­cern is the health and safety of the school chil­dren.”

A par­ent of two chil­dren who at­tend the Guru Nanak Academy, says a car park is needed to ease the “night­mare” park­ing is­sues.

Ka­maljit Singh, of Nor­wood Green, has to plan his jour­neys in ad­vance to al­low for the ex­tra time due to the vol­ume of traf­fic he hits in the Spring­field Road area.

He told the Gazette: “It’s very dif­fi­cult to drop the chil­dren off at school – it’s chaos, it’s a night­mare.

“There’s lor­ries be­ing parked on both sides of the road, and there’s a lot of com­mer­cial traf­fic on the road.

“We have to leave half an hour early to get to the school be­cause there’s no park­ing or any­thing.”

Mr Singh, who’s chil­dren are in year one and year five at Guru Nanak Sikh Academy, is “1,000,000% sure” a des­ig­nated car park would help par­ents.

He said: “It’s be­com­ing a night­mare – ev­ery sin­gle day it’s be­com­ing more and more congested.

“I’ve seen peo­ple get­ting £50 tick­ets, it’s a disas­ter.

“Peo­ple are des­per­ate to get their chil­dren to school but they are pan­ick­ing in the morn­ing – it shouldn’t be like this.”

Mr Singh sym­pa­thises with the So­ci­ety and can see why they’d build the car park.

He added: “They’re not charg­ing for it, they’re just try­ing to make peo­ple’s lives eas­ier.

“They could have said to par­ents: ‘it’s your prob­lem, you do some­thing about it’. It’s not for their ben­e­fit it’s just to ease the traf­fic and chaos.”

n NO PER­MIS­SION: Hilling­don Coun­cil im­ages show­ing the car park at Guru Nanak Sikh Academy

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