Channing School backs down in row over plans to let teachers park on its school playing field

Channing School at the corner of Cholmeley Park and The Bank, Highgate. Picture: David Anstiss/Geogr

Channing School at the corner of Cholmeley Park and The Bank, Highgate. Picture: David Anstiss/Geograph (CC BY-SA 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Channing School has backed down after a row broke out over a plans to turn its sports field into a car park.

The private girls’ school in Highgate claimed it would be “crucial to the running of the school” to use its playing fields in Stanhope Road for a temporary 30-space car park while its junior school in the high street is being renovated.

“Without such parking the school would be unable to attract many of the staff required to deliver the high-quality education provided by the school,” stated bosses in the application.

But opponents said covenants on the land – which was bequeathed to the school 30 years ago – prohibited the development, which would have seen a permanent or temporary crossover built to help cars get on to the site.

It also contravened planning policy guidelines on the designated open space in the Crouch End Conservation Area, they say.

Stephanie Hacker, one of 17 people who lodged objections, said: “The proposals would cause significant harm to the area, and there are no very special circumstances which would clearly outweigh this harm. [...]

“Channing playing fields have never been built on and have always been kept as open land. It would be a great pity to lose it to accommodate cars.”

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But after the Ham&High contacted Channing on Monday afternoon, its bursar Roy Hill said the school had decided the same day to withdraw the application.

“Following meetings with our advisors earlier today during which we discussed the objections received last week we decided to withdraw the application and look again at other options available to the school,” he said.

The parking would have been time-limited and would not have impacted on the use of the field for sport, which would have continued alongside the parking.

Stephanie is delighted. “I am pleased that significant local open land will not be turned into a staff car park,” she said, “particularly given all the alternative public transports available at walking distance. Channing has a moral duty to support the campaign led by Sadiq Khan to reduce the emission of nitrogen dioxide pollution levels by inciting its staff, like it does for Channing families, to use public transport.”