Safety fears as Royal Latin School science block is given the go ahead

Artist's impression of the new Discovery Centre
Artist's impression of the new Discovery Centre

Plans for a new science Discovery Centre at the Royal Latin School have been awarded planning permission despite residents’ concerns over Brookfield Lane being used as an access route for construction traffic.

Building work is set to start early next year and be completed in spring 2015.

Several residents had objected on safety grounds to the narrow Brookfield Lane being used as the access route to the site for builders’ lorries.

Residents Jean and Stuart Beck said Brookfield Lane was “an accident waiting to happen”.

While it supported the plan, Buckingham Town Council said Brookfield Lane, which is used by children walking to three schools, was unsuitable for access.

Bucks County Council planning advisor David Fettes also said the lane was unsuitable and access to the site should be via the Swan Pool.

But last Thursday, Aylesbury Vale District Council’s development control committee approved the plans, subject to a construction traffic management plan being approved before work begins.

Headteacher David Hudson said: “We are very conscious of our responsibility to the town, and will work closely with local residents throughout the construction process. We will formulate a plan with the contractors to minimise disruption and maximise the safety of pedestrians, particularly on Brookfield Lane.”

Town councillors Robin Stuchbury and Jon Harvey attended the meeting.

Mr Stuchbury said: “I asked them to have a site meeting but they didn’t. They agreed the application from an armchair in a council meeting. I’m just hopeful those preconditions they’ve put in are enforced.

“I did the best I could to ensure safety.”

Mr Harvey said: “The development control committee, in approving this application, has decided to take the risk that no child will be injured.

“I can only hope they will be proven correct.”

Designed by GSS Architecture, the £5 million Discovery Centre is s part of the 600 Campaign launched by the school last year to fund three phases of improvements to facilities by 2023, the school’s 600th anniversary.

The new science block will comprise a suite of 12 laboratories and learning spaces, as well as informal ‘break-out spaces’ for independent and group-based learning and new external courtyard spaces.

Mr Hudson said: “Staff and students are very excited by the prospect of the new Discovery Centre.

“We have worked very hard to design a building that Buckingham can be proud of for many years to come, and that will ensure that the town continues to be at the forefront of first-class education provision.”