Abacus School scales down ambitions as it unveils new plans to move into Hampstead Police Station

The former Hampstead Police Station, in Rosslyn Hill, which Abacus Belsize Primary School want to tu

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

The Heath and Hampstead Society has opposed plans to move a free school into the old Hampstead Police Station – even though the applicants have halved the number of pupils they hope to attract.

The Abacus Belsize Primary School is hosting consultation events this week as it redoubles its efforts to move into the site in Rosslyn Hill.

Its application for a 420-pupil school was rejected in 2016 amid concerns about overdevelopment.

The new plans see the school halving the number of potential pupils to 210. It says it is going back to its “first principles” as a single-form-entry school. At the moment it has a temporary home in Camley Street, which despite the school’s name is not in Belsize, and fewer than 100 students.

The new proposals limit the infill needed with an extension, will retain more of the Grade II-listed building’s original features, introduce a car-free policy, and axe plans for a rooftop play area.

But David Castle of the Heath and Hampstead Society, which objected to the original proposal, said: “Our objection still stands. The school will generate a huge amount of traffic. The one thing we don’t need in the area is more schools.”

The school was founded in September 2013 and has 147 pupils.

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The Department for Education had bought the police station for £14.1m when it was closed in June 2013 with the intention of it being used by the new school.

But at a heated planning meeting in 2016, the committee backed planning officers’ recommendations to refuse permission.

Abacus headteacher Vicky Briody, who has led Abacus Belsize since it was founded, said: “The school, and government funding agency, passionately wants to work with local people to ensure together we create a space that benefits local children and serves the community’s needs. We very much would like your thoughts and input, so please come and meet the team and see our new plans at the public exhibition.”

Plans can be viewed at the Belsize Community Library in Antrim Grove between 1.15pm and 3.15pm today (Thu). They will also be on display at Hampstead Police Station on Friday and Saturday, between 3pm and 7pm and from midday to 3pm respectively.