Dixons Academy: traffic issues

The proposed new Dixons Trinity Chapeltown Academy on Leopold Street plans to squeeze a 420-pupil primary school and a 560-pupil secondary school into one massive 3-storey building. So how will these 980 pupils travel to school?

The “Design and Access Statement”

An overview of Willmott Dixon’s proposals – the Design and Access Statement – can be downloaded here.

In Section 5.1 of this document it states:

There will be no parent vehicle drop-off permitted onsite.

…in other words, they’re expecting/hoping the local streets will be able to cope with the inevitable increased traffic twice a day.

The “Transport Statement”

Willmott Dixon have also prepared a Transport Statement.

This document includes findings of a parking survey in local streets – which concludes:

4.11 The parking survey shows that there is capacity in the vicinity of the proposed development for school drop offs to be accommodated on the existing highway network. In the morning, there are 201 spaces available within the surveyed area and in the afternoon, there are 228 spaces within the surveyed area.

The image above is based on the map on p58 showing where they’ve found these spaces:

  • Leopold Street
  • Hamilton Gardens
  • Hamilton Place
  • Harriet Street
  • Dodgson Avenue
  • Frankland Place (but not ChaCo’s access road)
  • Leopold Gardens
  • Chapeltown Children’s Centre

They’ve included the whole of Leopold Street, including the drop-off/pick-up area for Holy Rosary & St Anne’s Primary!

They then go on to estimate the likely number of pupils coming by different modes of transport:

7.6 In order to understand the modal split for different travel modes for journeys to and from school by pupils, data has been sourced from the LCC Sustainable
Education Strategy for Schools and Colleges 2017-2021, as summarised in Table 7.2.
This includes for both primary and secondary pupils and does not separate the two.

They’ve made a major error here: Table 7.2 on page 30 shows the total number of pupils (for both primary and secondary) as 420 instead of the actual figure of 980!

So if we accept their prediction of 25.8% of all pupils traveling by car, that’s not 105 (as they claim), but 253. This error invalidates much of their subsequent argument.

Twice a day there are likely to be 250 extra drivers on Leopold Street looking for somewhere to park to pick-up or drop-off children at the school. And Willmott Dixon’s own transport consultants have demonstrated that even if every available parking space in all those seven streets is used, that would still be insufficient.

In practice

Dixons will point out, of course, that their start and finish times are staggered, which will indeed help to ease the situation a bit.

The Transport Statement already acknowledges that:

6.19 It is clear from several site visits that there is a heavy incidence of car parking at the east end of Leopold St which generally takes place from early morning through to early evening.

However, they make no mention of the following:

  • Many of the road users and pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the school are likely to be particularly vulnerable – the elderly people in the new Unity Housing Association flats at the end of Frankland Place, and people visiting the Health Centre and Children’s Centre.
  • There are already significant drop-off/pick-up traffic and parking issues reported by Holy Rosary and St Anne’s Primary School at the other end of Leopold Street – which will not only be exacerbated by the increased traffic, but may also effectively remove some of the “available” parking spaces in Leopold Street.
  • Spencer Place is often very congested and when cars are parked on both sides of the road, it effectively becomes “single lane with passing places”.
  • On Fridays, traffic and parking problems on Spencer Place and in the vicinity of the Islamic Centre tend to increase around the times of “Friday Prayers”.
  • Air pollution is already high in the area. A recent test on the corner of Barrack Road and Roundhay Road indicated NOx levels 10% above the legal maximum. Traffic needs to be reduced, particularly near the Health Centre, Children’s Centre, the older people’s flats and the school itself.
  • In order for ChaCo to be granted planning permission, we had to demonstrate that our development would accommodate all associated parking on-site, with no overspill onto Leopold Street or surrounding streets. We think it only fair that a similar condition be imposed on Dixons Trinity Chapeltown.

In conclusion

Willmott Dixon need to amend their proposals to ensure that there is no negative impact on local residents or on staff and visitors to the Health Centre, Children’s Centre or their own school due to increases in:

  • traffic
  • congestion
  • parking problems
  • road traffic accidents
  • pollution

<< Back to the New School Proposals page

How to comment

You can find full details of the school’s planning application, including other people’s comments, here.

Anyone can comment on these proposals – especially if they live nearby – but you must do so by 1 June. There’s more info here on how to comment, but remember that you’ll need to give your name and address and quote the planning reference, which is 18/02283.