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Selby College Principal: “Student safety has been overlooked in housing development access road plans”

Monday 15 November 2021

Selby College’s Principal and Chief Executive Phil Sayles has voiced his concerns on Persimmon Homes’ plans, which will affect the access road to the College, explaining it will jeopardise the safety of the College’s students and staff.

Phil Sayles raised his safety concerns over the plans to redesign the road at the Planning Committee for the final stage of the Staynor Hall housing development in Selby, which took place on Wednesday, 10th November, 2021.

Concerns over traffic volumes, the cutting down of trees, loss of car parking spaces and verges were raised by a local resident who spoke at the meeting, and by Ward Councillor, Steve Shaw-Wright. The Planning Committee received a number of other written representations against the plan.

After a two-hour session carefully listening to the submissions, including from Persimmon Homes’ agent, and reports from Planning Officers, the Committee voted to defer the application for further submissions, and to undertake a site visit themselves and a busy time of day.

Principal and Chief Executive of Selby College, Phil Sayles, said:


“The safety of our 1500 students which we educate each year, including over a thousand 16-18-year olds, is our first priority, even before education commences.

The proposed new road design from Staynor Hall estate via Staynor Avenue as part of the new housing development, which is just outside of the College’s entry gate, will add hundreds of vehicles passing through this area, in several directions – crucially jeopardising the safety of our students and staff who arrive and depart the College each day.

This increased traffic will thread between 500 to 600 16-18-year olds who are catching or boarding their buses to and from the College, in the morning, in the evening and even more dangerously – in the dark winter months. In addition to this, the design will also reduce the verges available and the pavement size, creating an increasingly congested area.

We believe this has not been taken into consideration within Persimmon Homes’ traffic survey of the area, which was carried out between the hours of 11am and 12pm on a Tuesday morning. This is a time when our students are in class and are not entering or exiting the campus and therefore, cannot have produced a realistic and safe set of data.

To protect the safety of our students and staff, the College commissioned its own traffic consultant to survey the area between 4-5pm in a week day, providing a realistic view of the circumstances that must be considered. The conclusions of this survey, alongside our other detailed submissions which were led by an experienced and qualified planning consultant, were submitted to Selby District Planning Council in May 2021, which highlighted that our findings do not support the safety conclusions that have been made about this development.

The wellbeing and safety of our students is extremely precious and we believe that both the human and safety factor of 500 students catching a bus in the winter, in the dark, have been overlooked in the plans.

We are grateful for the careful consideration of the Panning Committee, and their decision to defer the application for further work before they decide on it again.

We hope that Persimmon Homes consider our grave concerns - which we have raised from the earlier planning phases – and that we are able to work together on resolving these significant safety issues.”