SEAFORD: Petition protest fails to halt school work

RESIDENTS have failed in a bid for an injunction to halt work at a controversial development in Seaford.

People living near Bowden House School signed a petition calling for action, saying they had been affected by dust and reduced air quality as a result of works on the site.

The school, in Firle Road, is managed by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and provides specialist, residential education for boys from Year Six to Year 11 with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Plans to demolish the existing building and replacing it with a new one complete with a sports hall and residential block within the school’s current grounds was met with anger by much of the community, who felt the new design did not fit in with the surrounding area.

The application was refused by Lewes District Council in May last year but permission was granted following an appeal.

Since work started Bowden Rise residents have signed a petition calling on an independent ‘Air Quality Monitor’ to be provided by the developer and that an independent contractor is employed and paid for by the developer to twice weekly clean residents’ car and windows.

Resident Alan Weinberg said, “It was a major problem at the beginning. I complained to the local authority at Lewes, they took virtually no notice, there was no action until the petition.”

“It was cleared up fairly well.”

However a number of residents sent a petition to LDC which was discussed by its cabinet last week.

The report recommended members authorise the director of planning & environmental Services to continue the enforcement work by the Environmental Health Department at the site and this was agreed. The report stated the request for developers to pay for air quality monitoring for a site the size of Bowden House seemed unreasonable and disproportionate.

Mike Deavin, construction director of Warings, said, “Warings prides itself on being a good neighbour and take our responsibilities to local people very seriously.

“As we build an exciting new school to help generations of young people with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, we have taken extensive measures to ensure disruption to residents is minimised and so are concerned to learn some neighbours are unhappy.

“We are committed to the Considerate Constructors Scheme and take every step to reduce any impact where we operate.

“We have been and will continue to work with local people and the local authority to ensure this fantastic project is realised with the minimum of disturbance.”

A spokesperson for LDC said after the first dust complaint an Environmental Health Officer visited the site but no problems were witnessed and they attended again on April 20, adding, “During this site visit the officer did observe the site was very dry and it was being created by the movement of plant within the site. It was made clear to the agent that this was not acceptable.

“The officer discussed and agreed a number of control options available and agreed the most practical solution would be a mobile water bowser with sprinkler system, deployed on a frequent basis to ensure re-suspended dust is kept to a minimum. This plant was delivered to site one day after the visit and commenced operation on April 21.

“Environmental Health received no further complaints and therefore no further action was taken as it appeared the new control measures had rectified the problem.

“Clearly the incredibly dry April has not helped but I believe with the right management and deployment of water suppression the dust situation will improve, and it did appear to have done so during the officer’s visit on May 9.”