State Govt is planning to build a new primary school on the site of the old TAFE college and for up t 1,000 children
The State Government plans to build a completely new primary school, to be called Epping South PS on Chelmsford Ave in Epping. Construction is due to start in October 2021, with Stage one (the main buildings and classrooms for 600 children) to be opened in 2023, followed by Stage 2 in 2028 (increase to 800 students and additional building) and then 1,000 - date to be decided.
This is a much needed additional school for Epping that will ease some of the pressures on nearby Epping West PS, and will accommodate families that will move into further high density development planned in the town centre and surrounds.
The site is a long rectangle block that used to house a TAFE college at the end of Chelmsford Ave. It is bordered to the north by quiet residential streets, and to the south by the new Epping Park unit blocks. Current buildings on the site are derelict and the it is overgrown, but it does include an area of significant ecological value including 25 remnant mature Blue Gums.
The school entrance and buildings will face to the north west corner and open onto Grimes Lane - currently a very quiet narrow road. It is proposed to extend this laneway to connect with Second Ave and offer a one way loop access to the front of the school.
The initial construction includes the main facilities - library, hall, admin, staff parking, COLA etc. Later additions will add more classrooms through a modular block addition. It is proposed to have an onsite after school care facility.
The site falls away sharply to the west where the more sensitive forested areas are. It is proposed to use some cleared areas for supervised play, and retain most of the trees in this section.
The school will mark a major change for local residents with a high volume of cars accessing Grimes Lane to use the Kiss and Drop Zone. The plans talk of encouraging bicycle use and walking to the school but these both involve having to take quite a loop if coming from the Epping Park apartments. Both noise and traffic impacts need to be considered.
New pathways are essential for this site as the current network has many gaps, or informal/rough tracks through bush to reach neighbouring streets. The proposal lacks detail on how new paths will be costed and built - will this be part of the construction or are they expecting Council to do this work? Due to the slope to the west, flooding and stormwater has to be a consideration.
Also, there does not appear to be a pedestrian access gate from the southern boundary. This means that all the kids from the units around Mobbs Lane will have to walk or drive right around via Edenlee and Chelmsford to reach the school. This is sheer madness.
Car Parking: Why is a large, hard surface staff car park proposed? The location is a safety risk to children and it is taking up valuable space that could provide more outdoor play and sports facilities. An underground car park for staff cars would be a much better solution.
Overshadowing: the 3 storey building will overshadow the limited playground and make it very dark in winter for children and staff.
It is important to consider this new school in conjunction with changes planned at the neighbouring Epping West PS (EWPS), which has been over crowed in recent years. Here is an outline of the capacity proposals between the two schools: