Highgate School’s basement plans slammed as ‘appalling’

A prestigious school has pledged to work with the community over plans to build a large basement as part of its extensive redevelopment project to refurbish parts of the 450-year-old school.

Highgate School, at the heart of Highgate Village, is in the early stages of proposals to refurbish Dyne House in Southwood Lane to bring facilities up-to-date for its pupils.

But the plans have been described as “appalling” by the Highgate Conservation Area Advisory Committee (HCAAC), which is concerned about the large-scale culling of trees and the impact of building a large basement in the centre of the village.

A spokeswoman from the school moved to reassure the community.

She said: “The teaching accommodation is no longer suitable for modern requirements and the building services have reached the end of their natural life.” She added: “When plans have been developed, they will be shared with the local community for feedback.”

The school wants to redevelop the 1960s building to create a sixth-form hub as well as a music, arts and drama centre.

In addition, parts of the redevelopment would be underground to “incorporate the natural configuration of the site,” the school said.

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Several members of the community have told the Ham&High that they are concerned the project would impact on views of the beloved stretch of land known as Highgate Bowl.

Susan Rose, chairwoman of HCAAC, said: “I am quite astonished that the body which has been part of Highgate for so long can suggest something which will be greatly to the detriment of the village, conservation area and the people of Highgate.”

In response, a school spokeswoman said: “While we have had initial conversations with some of Dyne House’s immediate neighbours, the next stage will be a wider consultation once our plans have been fully formed.”

The plans are part of the school’s large-scale project to modernise its buildings. Last week, it submitted plans to Haringey Council to refurbish and extend its pre-prepartory school in Bishopswood Road.