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Avenue Nursery: Neighbours and parents in stand-off over plans to expand Highgate nursery

PUBLISHED: 16:24 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 13 March 2019

Four of the residents of Jacksons Lane who opposed the expansion of neighbouring nursery. From left Ebrahim Ali, Mike Klein, Rani Jowell and Susan Ali with campaign literature. Picture: Polly Hancock

Four of the residents of Jacksons Lane who opposed the expansion of neighbouring nursery. From left Ebrahim Ali, Mike Klein, Rani Jowell and Susan Ali with campaign literature. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Avenue Nursery has renewed its efforts to expand and build a new classroom, but neighbours still aren’t impressed with the new plans.

Avenue Nursery and Pre-Prep School, Highgate Avenue N6. Picture: Polly HancockAvenue Nursery and Pre-Prep School, Highgate Avenue N6. Picture: Polly Hancock

The private nursery and pre-prep school in Highgate Avenue, which charges up to £4,900-a-term, is looking to build on its garden.

The extension will back on to houses in Jacksons Lane. The expansion will allow the nursery to have all 90 of its children on-site at once.

The initial application was withdrawn last summer after it was met by a barrage of objections. Neighbours complained about increased traffic, noise and “deception” over the number of pupils.

Elspeth Clements, who lives in Highgate Avenue, still doesn’t back the plans- despite the changes.

A map of those supporting and opposing the application, accurate as of 13/03/2019.

She said: “There are 30 households who have lived nearby for years. We feel it’s a development too far.

“The noise screens won’t be enough and it will overlook the houses. The playground still looks directly into my bedroom. We don’t have any privacy.”

Rani Jowell, who lives in Jacksons Lane said: “It’s a question of 20 children and their rich parents having their say and affecting so many lives.”

Dozens of parents from Highgate, Muswell Hill and Crouch End have backed the scheme. Many have said it will help working parents and paid tribute to its role in the community.

The nursery started off life with six children in 1977, before growing to have 45 children in 1989. A recent letter from the Department for Education says it could now host up to 100 pupils, but Ms Fysh has told the Ham&High this will not happen.

The nursery’s principal Mary Fysh has said there will be no overall rise in pupil numbers, and there will be no increase in traffic in total.

Ms Fysh said the classroom will be behind a four-metre wall, which will provide further sound protection.

She said: “The residents were invited last year to visit the school and view proposals; only a few visited.”

The application also blames the “disproportionate” hostile response to last year’s plans on the “hot summer” meaning neighbours were more aware of the inevitable noise of the school.

The Highgate Society has objected to the proposals saying they “show contempt” for residents’ ability to enjoy their outside space.

What do you think of the plans? Send in your thoughts to our letters page at: letters@hamhigh.co.uk

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