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“SAY YES TO BULLERS”

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SAY YES TO BULLERS is a campaign launched on Facebook in 2016 by Mum’s in support of the proposed Bullers Wood School for Boys in the London Borough of Bromley. The school will be a new single sex comprehensive secondary school that will be built on existing school land owned by the highly successful Bullers Wood School for Girls in Bromley. A planning application for the new boys school was refused by Bromley Council’s planning Development Control Committee (DCC) in January 2017 due to outstanding concerns over traffic congestion and safety. A revised planning application was however welcomed by the Council.

The revised planning application which was submitted in June 2017 has sought to address the outstanding concerns raised by the Council and is due to be reviewed and voted on by the Committee on 4 October 2017.

The revised proposal for the school has polarised the local community with a significant number of local residents signing a petition against the proposal and lodging objections on the Council’s planning website.

The Local Authority continues to count on the new school being built in its Secondary School Development Plan, which looks at school places in the Borough. The Council has been identifying a significant shortfall in Secondary School provision in the Borough for a number of years with between 3 and 4 additional secondary schools being needed by 2022. Furthermore the proposed site for the school was recently included in the Council’s draft local plan which has now been submitted to Central Government, having been approved by the Council this summer.

The Bullers Wood School for Boys was heavily oversubscribed (430 applications) and was due to open to its first 180 pupils in September 2017, however the opening was subsequently delayed by a year pending planning consent.

The construction of the school is being funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency. The school has appointed a Contractor to build the school- Kier; and it intends to open the school on the site in September 2018 in temporary accommodation whilst the new permanent facilities are constructed. The remaining obstacle is to secure planning consent.

The supporters group has grown to 1300 members and recently lodged a petition with the Council containing more than 2000 signatures in support, gathered mainly from concerned parents of prospective pupils, as well as those who were let down by the postponement of the school’s opening and have already missed out.

The supporters have also taken the unusual step of setting up a Walking Charter. The Charter asks parents of prospective pupils to commit their sons to walking to school. The idea being to to help mitigate any traffic congestion and air pollution that might otherwise be generated. The Charter gained more than 150 signees within the first 24 hours.

A short film has been made by the group and sent to Councillors which includes local boys promising to walk to school whilst holding up banners of their postcodes. This film was made to give the boys a voice in the planning process as well as to illustrate the passion and commitment of parents to the school and help to counter the ill-founded perception that the school would not serve local boys and that boys wont walk.

Ironically owing to concerns over traffic congestion, instead of walking to a local school opening at the start of term this month, many parents and boys have found themselves having to travel much further afield by car across the borough and beyond to remote schools exacerbating existing congestion problems.

Supporters can join the Facebook page by requesting to join the “ Bullers Wood School For Boys Local Residents Supporters Group”

Parents of prospective pupils wishing to sign up to the Walking Charter can do so at the following link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeBImc7b1RkROvQuZI248FMJgj1vFEh_zQA39JeCe66yaJF3g/viewform

The You Tube video “I Will Walk” can be found at the following link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nagl8MKBvaQ&t=33s

The Council’s planning website remains open for the time being where supportive comments can be made on the following link:

https://searchapplications.bromley.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OQTLS7BT0Q200

– Article written by supporters on the Bullers Wood School campaign

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Visit Chislehurst

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