Green light for controversial �40million St John’s Wood plan

Planning permission granted for Quintin Kynaston school development despite massive opposition

THE controversial �40million redevelopment of a St John’s Wood school site has been given the go-ahead despite massive opposition.

Plans to rebuild Quintin Kynaston (QK) and George Eliot schools on Marlborough Hill have been given the green light by Westminster Council after months of postponements and delays.

The development will see both schools rebuilt with the addition of an Alternative Provision Centre (APC) for students experiencing difficulties with mainstream education, and new indoor and outdoor sports facilities for community use.

More than 200 residents objected to the plans on a number of grounds including inappropriate entrances onto the site, security issues arising from the existence of both an APC and a separate QK respite and re-engagement unit, and intrusion from out-of-hours sports use.

A number of concessions were made by the planning committee including imposing strict conditions on the management of the APC and limiting the evening use of the sports facilities.

The site will be served by a number of entrances on Marlborough Hill, Boundary Road and Finchley Road to relieve pressure on Marlborough Hill where the main QK gate is currently located.

Most Read

Marlborough Hill resident representative Dick Schumacher said: “Everybody wants the school to look good and go forward. It’s just a question of how it is designed and what regulations are put in place to address difficulties that the residents around the school have had to suffer.

“It’s certainly a positive development that there are going to be gates on Finchley Road and Boundary Road. It would be better still if it were required that those gates were to be used daily. As it stands it seems like it may be at the discretion of the headteacher as to whether they are used.

“The conditions imposed on the APC are appropriate but as residents we had broadly agreed to the proposals from Cllr Lindsey Hall that the APC proceeds and the QK respite unit be deleted completely with all the excluded students across the entire site affiliated with the APC.”

The development has been split into two applications – a detailed planning application for a new George Eliot and APC building on the southern part of the site, and an outline application for the new QK building and sports facilities – both of which were granted.

Residents had been campaigning for community sports facility use to end at 6.30pm on weekdays with no opening on weekends or out of term time. The planning committee decided to change the proposed sports facility closing hours from 10pm on weekdays to 6pm for the hard court and 8pm on the other two courts and did not impose any restriction on Saturday use.

Mr Schumacher said: “I think it’s an improvement over what had been proposed and people are glad for it but they are upset about the prospect of Saturday afternoon use.

“Currently there are no parking regulations in Marlborough Hill and surrounding roads on Saturdays. Residents are concerned that if the pitches are used on Saturdays it will be impossible for residents to park their cars.”

QK headteacher Jo Shuter said: “I am very happy with the outcome of the planning meeting and I am pleased that the George Eliot and APC plans are going ahead. I am hopeful that QK’s plans will soon be granted.”

Cllr Nickie Aiken, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “It is fantastic news that permission has been granted as the new teaching and learning facilities at these schools will be enormously beneficial to the pupils and teachers.”

Work is expected to start in the next few weeks with George Eliot and the APC completed by September 2012 and QK completed in late 2014.