Response to Huxterstone Masterplan – School Roll

5.0 Primary school provision

Kingswells Primary School is facing a crisis. The ACC school roll forecast suggests that the school will go over capacity in 2015. These figures are based on the 72 homes at the West One development being completed in 2013. The development was actually completed in 2012. Consequently, the school will go over capacity next year rather than ACC’s prediction of 2015.
The proposed phasing of the development results in the school going over capacity as shown in the following graph.

Phasing 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
In Master plan 20 30 30 30 10
KCC Proposal 10 30 40 40

KCC propose the above phasing which will allow the development to proceed without a major impact on the education of the Kingswells Primary Children.

The above table and graph show the roll broken down.

KCC have shown that it is possible to phase the building works to avoid impacting the education of the primary school pupils by running the school at ‘over capacity’. We also request that phasing should not be fine-tuned to run the school at capacity as this would increase the likelihood of having one or more composite classes which impacts on the ‘actual capacity’ figures that are possible.

5.1 Previous Errors Made With School Roll Figures

The West One Development, which is nearing completion, was approved with 72 homes rather than the 50 homes identified in the Local Development Plan because ACC Planning Department and Elected Members were provided erroneous capacity figures (540 instead of 450) by ACC’s Education Department.

KCC received the following account of how this occurred…

Revised school capacities were reported to our Education, Culture and Sport Committee on 7 January 2010, following analysis of the school buildings in relation to their ability to meet the requirements of the Curriculum for Excellence . http://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=289&T=10

Within the Appendix 5 to this report, (which was agreed), the revised capacity for Kingswells School is clearly shown as 450. Unfortunately, within some of our supporting internal paperwork, this number appears to have been wrongly transposed as 540, (rather than 450). It therefore seems that, when one of my colleagues was asked at short notice by Dr Maggie Bochel, Head of Planning & Sustainable Development, on the morning of a Development Management Sub-Committee, about the capacity of Kingswells School, he inadvertently quoted the 540 figure, rather than the correct figure of 450.

As soon as we realised this error, we alerted colleagues within Planning, but unfortunately this was after the Sub Committee in question. (ACC 26thJanuary 2012)

5.2 Size of the Development

The Local Development Plan has identified the West Huxterstone development is suitable for 120 homes

However, the Indicative Block Layout Plan (Figure 24) on Page 20 of the West Huxterstone masterplan shows 114 houses plus 4 blocks of either 6 (=24) or 4 blocks of 8 (=32). This suggests that the final total number of homes on the site could actually be 138 or 146.

We have also noted on Page 10 of the Masterplan that the “adjoining landowner has intimated their desire to develop their land, part of which lies within the masterplan area”. We have no clear indication how many additional homes might be added on this part of the site.

5.3 Other School Problems

The problems are not helped by ACC’s insistence on using the formula of 0.3 children per new home. This approximation may broadly apply for a large number of homes across Aberdeen as a whole but could clearly be wrong for smaller developments like West Huxterstone. It is significant that 5 bedroomed family homes would equate to just 1.5 children and that one-bedroomed affordable homes are completely discounted. Even a small discrepancy in the projected number of children could easily push Kingswells Primary over capacity.

Kingswells has had an abysmal history of poor decision-making by ACC over primary school provision. More and more new homes were built with no provision for the education of the growing population of children moving into the area. The primary school was forced into using general purpose rooms as classrooms, then the old Fairley Road school was reopened as a nursery and portacabins were installed for P1 and P2. As a consequence of the split site and overcrowding, the education of Kingswells children was severely compromised for years. The school has already been extended and the playground had to be sited outwith the school grounds. The school site footprint is now fully utilised with buildings and with a staff car park which is inadequate. Often staff park in residential streets around the school. There is no further suitable land available for portacabins or an extension

5.4 Conclusion on School Issues

The problems are serious and have been caused by miscalculations by personnel within ACC and the insistence of maximising development beyond the numbers identified in the Local Development Plan. The Planners and Developers have a duty of care to the community to ‘get it right’.

Kingswells community will not tolerate overcrowding at the primary school again.

We demand that the building of houses at West Huxterstone is delayed / phased so that the school can accommodate the children without detriment to their education.

Also, with the phasing suggested by KCC, the developers can then complete the whole development over 4 years instead of 5. Any additional housing above 120 would extend the period of development.

Neither ACC nor the Developer should compound previous errors made in Kingswells. A slight delay on 120 homes will not have a big impact on the delivery of Aberdeen housing, but it could have a big impact on the education of Kingswells children. Developers have

Attachments

  1. Huxterstone masterplan Oct 12 Rev 1a (1 MiB)
    Kingswells Community council Full Response with graphics

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