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News / 23 February, 2011

Hackney Downs school plan in question after backlash from residents

The council is reviewing the responses to its consultation on building a ‘School for the Future’ on common land

Hackney Downs Photo Graham Parry

Hackney Downs. Photo: Graham Parry

Following an an outcry by local residents who have expressed anger over plans to build a school on Hackney Downs, Hackney Council is “currently reviewing the feedback received.”

Residents have been up in arms over Hackney Council’s consultation proposing to rebuild Stormont House school on top of the bowling green and old tennis court on the Downs. The Council and Learning Trust want to rebuild the school as part of the national Building Schools for the Future programme.

Alan Maddox and other locals have criticised the proposal to “plonk a school in the middle of the public park”. Commenting on the plans, he said, “Residents do understand the need for excellent educational facilities for children, but also that open spaces need to be protected.”

Included in the plans is the proposal to  grass over the land that the school is currently situated on so that it can become common land – effectively a common land ‘swap’. However, locals are concerned that, regardless of what the building looks like, it will still be a building on what is common land.

In a statement, the council said: “As soon as this feedback has been assessed, a consultation report will be made publicly available. At the same time, the council has continued to explore any available options for a temporary decant, which would allow Stormont House School to be rebuilt on its existing site.

“No decision has been taken on the location of the new school. This will be determined following a comprehensive review of the informal consultation report. It was important to Council that the feelings of local residents were gathered, as any alteration in the distribution of green space needs to be carefully considered. Any altered use of common land requires a full public consultation and consent from the Planning Inspectorate.”

/ 23 February, 2011

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