Planning application and planning appeal for the relocation of Rushmoor and St Andrew’s schools onto a combined site to provide a school for 670 pupils. Also included in the scheme were high quality sports pitches including an Olympic standard gymnasium, rugby, cricket, netball and football pitches.
The traffic network close to the site is highly congested at the start and end of each school day, due to the proximity of local schools and the A6. We were commissioned, to address the main highway issues associated with the development and promoted an access strategy to minimise local highway constraints, with junctions on Manton Lane and Clapham Road. The planning application was, however, subsequently refused by Bedford Borough Council due to the effect of the development on the highway network and emerging local highway improvements.
To support the proposals at a public inquiry we developed a microsimulation, VISSIM model of the local highway network to demonstrate that the impacts of the relocation of the school were acceptable. The model also included the Borough Council’s Northern Gateway improvement scheme, which proposed alterations to two of the main junctions in the Study Area. At the public inquiry the accuracy of the VISSIM model we built was compared with that produced for the Council with the Inspector concluding that “I consider it appropriate to take into account the benefits of the MOVA signal control system in assessing the performance of the network with the NGS in place. The TPA model does this to a greater extent than the Systra model and, therefore, its outputs are likely to be more realistic”.
The appeal was allowed and planning permission granted. Subsequent to the appeal, we are now acting on behalf of the school to discharge planning conditions and produce the detailed design of the highway works.