Brentwood’s new garden village must “not result in additional private car journeys” to school

Early stages of a 4,000-home garden village must not result in additional private car journeys to secondary schools in Brentwood and Basildon, planners have warned.

The new Dunton Hills garden village is expected to deliver up to 4,000 homes over the next 20 years across three distinguishable neighbourhoods – Dunton Fanns, Dunton Waters and Dunton Woods – each with a primary school and an additional secondary school in Dunton Waters.

But children being ferried to schools in Brentwood and Basildon before a new one is built as part of the second phase of the development must not result in additional private car journeys or cost to the tax payer, Essex County Council said.

The authority added it is satisfied in principle with education facilities being provided in each of the three neighbourhoods and provided on a phased approach, but it has concerns that the specific locations for education facilities are being fixed, without a full assessment being undertaken and agreed with the education authority in order to establish whether these locations are suitable.

The comment from the county council was made as part of the Dunton Hills Garden Village (DHGV) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and Framework Masterplan consultation, which set out broad principles to show how the garden village should be designed to create a well-functioning and successful place.

It adds: “Within the phasing and delivery sections of both the Supplementary Planning Guidance and the Framework Masterplan the secondary school is indicated to be located within Dunton Waters and would be in the second phase of the development.

“Until this time, pupils will need to access schools in Basildon and/or Brentwood. The provision of safe direct walking and cycling routes beyond the site boundary must be planned for and a school transport strategy developed which will not result in additional private car journeys or costs to the tax-payer.”

It also urges changes for the potential of co-locating one of the primary schools with the secondary school to create an all-through school, which is the county council’s preference.

The various layout plans clearly show the two schools within Dunton Waters as separated.

But the authority pointed out that as the land indicated for the secondary school or potential all-through school is not large enough to accommodate the primary school and early years and childcare facility, the plans need to be “amended to show the site as extended to the east to have the potential to accommodate this”.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter