£22million Parliament Hill and William Ellis schools redevelopment approved
PUBLISHED: 10:37 13 March 2015 | UPDATED: 16:43 13 March 2015
A £22million schools redevelopment set to provide thousands of pupils with state-of-the-art facilities has been given the green light.
Parliament Hill and William Ellis schools in Highgate Road, near Parliament Hill, will go through a major transformation under plans approved by Camden Council on Thursday.
A curved teaching block will replace shabby 1950s buildings at all-girls Parliament Hill to provide a large number of new classrooms, including a fitness studio, science laboratories, and a lecture hall.
Meanwhile, William Ellis will benefit from a two-storey red-brick extension, which will free up space for food technology and music classrooms.
Camden’s largest sixth-form La Swap is also set to have its own dedicated study space for the first time in its history in front of Parliament Hill School.
Highgate Labour councillor Oliver Lewis told a planning committee on Thursday: “I believe this represents a significant opportunity to improve the education and life chances of children, not just in Highgate but in the whole of the borough.”
However, the decision was not universally welcomed.
Residents living in the Lissenden Gardens estate next to Parliament Hill School had expressed concern that the new building would be built too close to their estate.
They were worried that their privacy would be compromised and that the new Parliament Hill building would block their light.
St John Wright, of the Lissenden Gardens Tenants Association, told the committee: “I would ask the council to consider the people of Lissenden Gardens whose quality of life is being sacrificed.”
Highgate Labour councillor Sally Gimson, whose children attend Parliament Hill and William Ellis schools, said that residents’ concerns must be considered.
However, she insisted that it would not be a reason to refuse planning permission.
Cllr Gimson said: “For young people and for the future of the borough, this new schools development is essential and should be embraced.”
Six councillors approved the plans at the planning committee meeting, with two objecting and two abstaining from the vote.
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