New school in former home of LJCC and prima ballerina will cause ‘absolute nightmare’

Ivy House. Picture: Will Curtis.

Ivy House. Picture: Will Curtis. - Credit: Archant

Plans to open a school in the historic former home of the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) and Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova will create an “absolute nightmare” for drivers and risks increasing road traffic accidents, it has been warned.

The Ham&High revealed last month that education provider Alpha Plus Group was in the process of buying the 125-year lease on Ivy House, in North End Road, Golders Green, from the LJCC in a deal due to be completed by the end of July.

It is understood the company plans to provide a school for about 200 pupils, aged three to 11.

But the owner of a nearby nursery has warned that the opening of a new school, in addition to the existing King Alfred School opposite Ivy House, will cause traffic misery on North End Road and endanger pedestrians, including children attending the schools and nursery.

David Landy, who co-owns Clowns Nursery off North End Road with his wife Tracy, said: “It’s a nightmare during the school run. You’ve got people visiting Golders Hill Park, going to King Alfred School, going to the doctor’s surgery and people going to Clowns.

“Even if parents at the new school shared cars there’s going to be another 100 parents in the area and it’s a nightmare already. It’s going to be an absolute nightmare.”

North End Road resident Katherine Travers, who successfully campaigned for a 20mph limit to be introduced in North End Road, which has been the scene of two road deaths since 2004, raised concerns about the prospect of more children frequenting the road.

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She said: “My main concern is with the increase of children who will need to cross North End Road at the section where the 20mph signage is not clearly visible.”

A spokesman for Alpha Plus Group would not confirm its plans for Ivy House. She said: “We are always exploring options for the provision of new educational facilities but we cannot confirm any specific proposal.

“We can say generally that we take our responsibilities on school travel very seriously and have developed a great deal of experience in the effective management of these matters.

“We always operate a School Travel Plan in our schools. It is our policy to always engage directly with key stakeholders on these matters so as to respond to queries and to most effectively address concerns which may arise.”

Ivy House was put on the market with a starting price of £6.25million in January. The house dates back to the late 18th century and was famously the home of Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova until her death in 1933.

In 2002, the LJCC bought a 125-year lease on Ivy House for £3.5m from King Alfred School, which owns the freehold for the house.

The LJCC moved out earlier this year having merged with Jewish community centre, the JW3, in Finchley Road.