Posted: 23.03.20 at 16:29 by Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter
Millfield Preparatory School in Edgarley can build a new access road on to the busy A361 despite concerns over road safety.
The prep school near Glastonbury applied in October 2018 to build a new exit point for traffic leaving its current base off Edgarley Road.
Mendip District Council refused the plans in May 2019, arguing it could not be properly enforced and could lead to motorists reversing on to the main road.
This decision has now been reversed by the Planning Inspectorate – though it may not be implemented until long after the schools return from the coronavirus outbreak.
The planned access will be at the western end of the school site, creating a through-flow of traffic entering from the A361 and Cinnamon Lane and exiting back onto the main road.
The school had argued such a move would “alleviate existing school traffic congestion and increase capacity” on the A361.
Planning inspector Helen O’Connor visited the school on February 25, and subsequently ruled in her written report that the new exit should go ahead.
She said: “Drivers of vehicles to the school would primarily be parents or carers of pupils, coach drivers transporting pupils, staff or service vehicles.
“The application has, in part, been made in response to parental concerns regarding the safety of the present use of the access from the A361 and Cinnamon Lane and the school premises.
“It follows that, as part of a school community, there is a degree of control and willingness to cooperate with the school, which is likely to engender a high degree of self-regulation.”
Ms O’Connor added a physical barrier to prevent vehicles using the site access as an entrance “would not be necessary”, and there was “limited substantive evidence” for the council’s position.
She went on to say: “The Cinnamon Lane access at present has restricted visibility and cars leaving the pre-prep car park at peak times block the lane, which prevents vehicles turning into Cinnamon Lane from the A361 from completing their manoeuvre.
“This results in stationary traffic and congestion on the A361, which increases the risk of collisions.”
The Planning Inspectorate has not made any ruling against the council in terms of legal costs.