Hampstead schoolchildren mount last-ditch protest against New End luxury flats plan

School children protesting against proposed redevelopment of former nurses' home near their school.

School children protesting against proposed redevelopment of former nurses' home near their school. Photo: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Schoolchildren staged a last-ditch protest against a luxury flats plan that includes a triple-depth basement dig – telling the developers “we don’t need no excavation”.

Dozens of primary school pupils demonstrated outside the derelict nurses’ home in New End, Hampstead, on Monday.

They are fighting plans to bulldoze the building and construct a seven-storey housing block with an underground car park – which will go 36ft below ground level.

The youngsters raised hand-made banners, many mimicking a famous line from Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall – “we don’t need no education”.

It is feared the work will pose a serious safety threat to pupils at three nearby primary schools – New End, Christ Church and Heathside.

Opponents say trucks will drive in and out of New End every 11 minutes at the busiest times.

Melissa Remus Elliot, headteacher of Heathside Preparatory School, said: “We’re horrified Camden can even consider this application in view of the potential danger and distress to children and the devastation to their learning environment.

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“There are more than 800 schoolchildren in the immediate area and we’re really worried that their safety will be seriously compromised by the hundreds of heavy goods vehicles.”

The development of 17 flats with 17 parking spaces has been recommended for approval by Camden planning officers and goes before a development control committee tonight (Thursday).

Lord Parry Mitchell, the Labour Party’s enterprise advisor, who lives in Elm Row, Hampstead, said he was “horrified” and called on councillors to reject the scheme.

Cllr Chris Knight, of Hampstead Town ward, said: “This will be the biggest and most disruptive building project I think we have ever had.

“They’re going to be removing thousands of tonnes of earth for this triple-depth basement.

“There will be an earth-moving vehicle every 11 minutes, six hours a day for three months. It will be absolutely monstrous.”

A spokesman for developer Karawana Ltd said: “The current building is in a poor state and detracts from the conservation area.

“Our proposals create much-needed family homes of the highest quality with a design sensitive to the local context and heritage.

“We know this is a challenging location for any development, here in the heart of Hampstead. Our development team has carefully researched and planned each aspect of the process to ensure that it can be done sensitively and local impact is minimised.”