Robin Parker, Chells Liberal Democrat county councillor, has announced that the demolition of the old MarriottsSchool buildings in Telford Avenue, can begin any time from Wednesday 20.3.2013. The contractor (Balfour Beatty) needed an agreed demolition plan with Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) before demolition could start. A suggested plan was submitted around 12.3.2013 and was shown to Robin Parker by HCC, for comments prior to the officials at HCC agreeing it.
Robin reports “I was not satisfied with a number of aspects of the suggested demolition plan, so I sent a list of necessary changes and clarifications. Now all my requirements have been agreed by Balfour Beatty, so officials at HCC will agree the plan from today and they can now go ahead with the demolition.”
“All my requirements were to make the whole process as small a burden as possible on local Chells residents, particularly those living in Telford Avenue and Newton Road, which is the route that must be used by the demolition vehicles.”
“I first raised the problems and required solutions at a meeting at County Hall on 11.3.2011. I got agreement then on a number of issues around the demolition. So, I was somewhat amazed when, at a public meeting for local residents on 17.1.2013, called by Balfour Beatty at the old Marriotts building, no-one involved had any knowledge of what had been agreed nearly 2 years previously! Fortunately, I had kept the minutes of that meeting of 11.3.2011, and my own notes on the issues, and so I made sure all those points from 2 years ago were not forgotten. Also, I added a few more requirements, all of which are now agreed.”
“There is no denying that the demolition will cause some local disruption. However, the job has to be done and I am determined that local residents will be inconvenienced as little as possible.”
“Originally myself and some residents wanted the demolition vehicles to use a route across to the new Brittain Way entrance, but all the engineers told us that this was simply not possible, or safe, mainly because of a major water main under the ground there. An alternative route alongside FairlandsValley was denied by Stevenage Borough Council. So, HCC were left with no alternative but to use Telford Avenue/Newton Road.”
Issues raised by Robin Parker on the suggested demolition plan
1. The notes on the plan and the notes on the document (see the two attachments) do not agree. One has 13 points and the other has 9 and the latter misses some of the 13 points.
2. Reference to “deliveries” on both documents. Does this mean “demolition or other associated vehicles”? If so, it needs to state so on both documents. What deliveries will there be anyway? Will demolition vehicles (as well as delivery vehicles) be booked in 48 h in advance?
3. It is Telford Avenue not Telford Road.
4. What is a banksman?
5. How often is “regular intervals”? Regular could mean once a year. They need to state what they mean and suggest one newsletter to residents each week, on a Friday, stating what work is planned for the following week.
6. To which houses will the newsletters be delivered?
7. Where will vehicles be held once they leave the A1? The document states they will be held on Chells Way but the map does not, it just states vehicles will be held. If on Chells Way, where on Chells Way? Why does it state only delivery vehicles for this? Where will demolition vehicles be held?
8. “Hold the previous delivery vehicle…..” Does it include demolition vehicles and if so it should state exactly which vehicles are included and does it in any case not mean the next vehicle?
9. Both the notes on the plan and the notes in the document need to be completely re-written to:
(a) agreee exactly word for word; and
(b) clarify and be consistent with all the points I have raised.
10. Are the attachments (plan and document) public and can I circulate them to interested residents? – I need to know the answer to this asap.
Important issues now agreed
- All the documentation now agrees with little scope for misinterpretation.
- The agreed routing and system for lorries covers all demolition vehicles, deliveries and others.
- Newsletters to local residents will be delivered by Balfour Beatty fortnightly.
- Demolition vehicles will be held in a lay-by near the Coreys Mill Sainsbury’s if there is not space on the site to accommodate them when they arrive in Stevenage. There will be no lorries waiting in Chells.
- A banksman (traffic controller) will be in radio contact with the site main gates to ensure demolition vehicles do not meet on the surrounding roads.
- All demolition traffic to and from the site will be between 10.00 and 16.00 only.
- Engines will be turned off whilst vehicles wait at the site.
The original Marriotts building was opened in 1965 at the Telford Avenue site, as The Bedwell School, later changing its name to MarriottsSchool, an 11 – 18 mixed comprehensive HCC school. As part of the government’s Building Schools For The Future (BSF) programme, Marriotts has been entirely rebuilt and extended and nearby LonsdaleSchool (for pupils with physical or neurological impairments) has joined Marriotts in a new purpose built building on the same site. LonsdaleSchool closed its old buildings off Webb Rise in December 2012. The joint new school buildings opened in January 2013. The demolition is the final phase of the project and involves demolishing the old Marriotts buildings at Telford Avenue.
Access to the new joint school buildings is now off Brittain Way. After the demolition (expected to be complete around July 2013) there will be an additional student pedestrian access off Telford Avenue and some additional staff parking there as well.