L&G's own application documents demonstrate that the development will put real strains on our infrastructure. They show that there are only 5 (!) surplus places across 6 primary schools in Harpenden and that there is “significant pressure” on secondary school infrastructure. L&G acknowledge that there will be an adverse impact on children because there is insufficient capacity in our schools for all the children from the new development, but they blithely state that this impact will not be significant, because they will pay for more school capacity to be built through mandatory developer s.106 contributions.
These impacts will be very damaging. Our local County Councillor, who opposes this development on both transport and school place impact grounds, has been advised that it is exactly the wrong size to gain sufficient funding for new school provision. Even if new land was made available for construction, the money from L&G's required contribution will be insufficient to build new schools. As a result, already hard-pressed local primary schools will likely be forced to accommodate even more pupils and extra secondary places will be needed at Katherine Warington School (KWS), which is the only local secondary school with sufficient space to expand significantly. It seems unlikely that pupils will routinely walk to school from this new site, particularly to KWS which is 40 minutes walk away, so the new development will cause major volumes of extra school traffic at peak times. The most direct route for this traffic is along the narrow Ambrose Lane, over three narrow bridges and onto the already over-congested Lower Luton Road. L&G have made absolutely no effort to model the impact of these predictable new traffic flows and while they wash their hands of the problem, we will have to live with the consequences for our children and our local infrastructure.