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Overlooked - Maltings Road residents view the new block at the end of their gardens

New school blocks invade our privacy, say Maltings Road residents

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Maltings Road residents have hit out at the "invasion of privacy" they say has been created by a new Colne Community School extension which overlooks their gardens.

The residents, whose bungalows back on to the grounds of the school, say the new two-storey block is much taller than the former caretaker's house that it replaced, not least because the ground beneath the modular buildings has been considerably built up. They claim that plans circulated during a consultation by Essex County Council didn't give any indication of the height of the blocks and have accused the council of  "rushing through" the plans under cover of the pandemic.

One of the householders, Liam Fearis, said: "Our gardens are completely overlooked. It just feels like a real invasion of privacy." He claimed that the large windows created a safeguarding issue because pupils would be able to see into his garden where his young daughter plays. The residents say they've been told that the windows may be fitted with a film which would make it more difficult for pupils to see out, but this has not been confirmed.

Although the plans show that trees will be planted to screen the new building, Mr Fearis claimed that there was barely enough room between his fence and a path around the block to allow this – and pointed out that any tree cover would take a long time before it was effective. "If you put a 20ft fence at the end of your garden they'd tell you to take it down," he added

The new building – which includes eight general classrooms, four technology rooms, an office, stores and toilets – is part of a plan to increase the school's capacity for years seven to 11 from 1,200 to 1,500 pupils to meet forecast demand and is scheduled to open this September. According to the Essex County Council consultation, it will eventually be clad in a "muted palette of materials" including grey brick cladding on the ground floor, vertical slat cladding above and contrasting blue cladding within the window reveals.

Brightlingsea's Essex County Councillor Alan Goggin has met the residents and told Brightlingsea Info that he has put their concerns to the site manager and is continuing to look at the issues raised.

 

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