Education minister Michael Gove offers fresh hope in fight to save Ashmount School site

Education secretary Michael Gove has given renewed hope to campaigners battling plans to turn a school building into housing - as a thousand residents pledge their opposition to the sale.

Pupils at Ashmount Primary School are due to move from their building in Hornsey Lane, Highgate, to a new site in Crouch Hill, Crouch End, in September.

Islington Council has announced proposals to redevelop the site for housing.

But in an email to Highgate councillors in neighbouring Haringey, where many of the school’s pupils come from, Michael Gove revealed that Islington Council has yet to apply for a change of use to make way for the redevelopment.

In a hopeful sign to campaigners critical of the sale, the education secretary also said that any final decision would “take into account all of the circumstances, including the correspondence he has received from local councillors and the issues raised”.

The revelation comes as a petition signed by 1,000 people opposed to the sale is set to be handed into Islington town hall next week.

Highgate Liberal Democrat Cllr Rachel Alison said: “Even though it is in Islington, any disposal would affect residents in Highgate and Crouch End. We cannot lose a valuable school site when Haringey families are in dire need of extra school places.”

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Islington Council says the borough has enough school places and having two schools so near each other would be damaging for both.