Flats plan blocked at Barking and Dagenham College
- Credit: Archant
Plans to make a “pivotal” technology centre a reality were blocked as councillors slammed plans to develop the green belt.
Barking and Dagenham College’s CEO Yvonne Kelly warned that the opportunity would “not come again” before the facility’s proposal to transform land currently used as a car park into 125 flats and homes was rejected on Monday night.
Speaking at the planning meeting at Barking Town Hall, Cllr Cameron Geddes told members: “It grieves me to not be able to support Barking and Dagenham College.
“They have done a good job [with the application] but it’s not good enough.”
Responding to Ms Kelly’s assertion that the impact on the green belt was only visual, he replied: “The visual impact of the green belt is what the green belt is there for.
“It’s not just building on a car park, it’s building on more than a car park. It’s a substantial encroachment on the green belt.”
The outline planning permission – which has attracted considerable opposition from residents since it was floated last year – would have relocated the existing car park at the edge of the Rush Green campus to part-fund a Centre for Advanced Technologies.
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Speaking in support of the application during the meeting, Ms Kelly said the potential transformation was “pivotal” for young people.
“We passionately believe this justifies the development on the green belt area,” she said.
Supporting the application, Cllr Evelyn Carpenter told members the current D block was a “stale learning environment” that desperately needed work.
UKIP’s Peter Harris, who quit as governor of the college last year in protest at the plans, was pleased by the result.
“I think it’s a great victory for the residents of Barking and Dagenham,” he said.
A college spokeswoman said they were considering appealing the decision.
“Our students are at the heart of everything we do and so we are very disappointed with the outcome,” she added.