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Abacus Belsize Primary School: Planning inquiry looms over move into old Hampstead police station

PUBLISHED: 07:02 14 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 14 May 2020

Camden's planning committee vote unanimously against proposals that would see Abacus School relocating to the former Hampstead Police Station at a meeting on November 14 Picture: Polly Hancock

Camden's planning committee vote unanimously against proposals that would see Abacus School relocating to the former Hampstead Police Station at a meeting on November 14 Picture: Polly Hancock

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The Department for Education (DfE) is appealing Camden Council’s decision to reject plans to transform the old Hampstead Police Station into a home for Abacus Belsize Primary School.

The former Hampstead Police Station, in Rosslyn Hill, which Abacus Belsize Primary School want to turn into a school. Picture: Harry TaylorThe former Hampstead Police Station, in Rosslyn Hill, which Abacus Belsize Primary School want to turn into a school. Picture: Harry Taylor

The DfE has lodged its appeal against November’s unanimous rejection of the plans by the town hall’s planning committee.

Abacus Belsize, which is part of the Anthem Schools Trust chain of academies and therefore outside of local authority control, currently operates from a temporary home in Camley Street, King’s Cross.

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But with the temporary lease set to end, the DfE hopes the school will be able to operate from revamped police station from 2022. Letters have been sent to those who have previously commented on the plans informing them they have until June 3 to make any new representations to the planning inspectorate. 
Two planning applications – one to change the buildings use and one for listed buildings consent - were rejected on the basis the plans would have a negative impact on transport and air quality in Rosslyn Hill, that there would be a lack of outside space, and that building work could damage the interior of Grade-II listed building. In documents published on Camden Council’s planning portal, planning consultancy JLL argues on the school’s behalf that moving into the old police station would only see a one per cent increase in vehicle use.

The side entrance on Downshire Hill to the former Hampstead Police Station, which Abacus Belsize Primary want to turn into a school. Picture: Harry TaylorThe side entrance on Downshire Hill to the former Hampstead Police Station, which Abacus Belsize Primary want to turn into a school. Picture: Harry Taylor

The firm writes: “The proposed relocation of the school nearer to its catchment will be more sustainable than its current location and will reduce the current impacts of journeys to the school by private motor vehicles on traffic congestion and from air pollution.”

The plans have been opposed by groups including the Heath and Hampstead Society and the Hampstead Committee for Responsible Development (HCRD) who are expected to be “rule six” interested parties in the as yet unscheduled inquiry – and even by the governors of other schools such as New End Primary School in Hampstead.


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