New Highgate School building opposed by neighbours opens its doors

A new school building in Highgate, which faced strong opposition from residents, has been officially opened.

Highgate Senior School in North Road, Highgate, faced opposition from neighbours who were concerned about the building’s height and effect on the area’s character when a planning application was first lodged two years ago.

But the school succeeded in winning go ahead for the Charter building, which was named after the school’s founding charter.

In the charter Queen Elizabeth I granted permission to Sir Roger Cholmeley to found the school on land granted to it – where the building stands – by the Bishop of London in 1565.

The new centre, which is four storeys high, houses the English and Geography departments, a science laboratory and a computer suite.

It also houses a secure visitors’ reception area and a pupil entrance.

Headteacher Adam Pettitt said: “If I had ever had any doubts about this project, the pupils’ reaction on entering the Charter building and their comments since have dispelled them.

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“They immediately responded to the ingenious use of space and the staggering sense of openness which permeates the building.

“We now know we’re on top of a hill - I hope the spectacular views inspire them!”

The stone carvings on the ground floor were inspired by the school’s aims “to be a place for learning and scholarship” and “to be a reflective community”.

The building will have public openings for local visitors later this term.