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Quintin Kynaston's plan to replace its sinking science block delayed

PUBLISHED: 15:40 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 07 September 2010

CITY Hall planning bosses have delayed a bid by Quintin Kynaston secondary to replace its science block with temporary classrooms - despite the fact the school s ageing laboratories are sinking. QK s head of governors Patrick Lees revealed the dilapidated

CITY Hall planning bosses have delayed a bid by Quintin Kynaston secondary to replace its science block with temporary classrooms - despite the fact the school's ageing laboratories are sinking.

QK's head of governors Patrick Lees revealed the dilapidated state of the school's science rooms and the gym in a letter submitted to Westminster Council's planning committee last Thursday.

In the letter, he championed the proposals for the temporary replacement classrooms at the St John's Wood school, which are currently being constructed during the summer break.

Mr Lees wrote: "It's long been known that the science laboratories and gym to the south of our site have been subsiding over time - mainly due to a number of old basements, which were never properly in-filled in the 1950s."

The committee acknowledged the need for the classrooms and gave permission for them to be put up. But they ruled the new development must remain unoccupied until a decision was made on another application the school submitted to the council last month.

Those plans are for a multi-million pound "super campus" under the Building Schools for the Future scheme (BSF) and would see the creation of a site consisting of QK, George Eliot Juniors, George Eliot Infants and the pupil referral unit Beachcroft.

But the ambitious overhaul has attracted criticism from residents and concerns have now been raised that the temporary classrooms might be used to force through this larger scheme. Dissenters claim the two applications are connected because the BSF proposals include the creation of a new science block and therefore should not be considered separately.

In a letter to the committee, Gerald Rothman, of nearby Carlton Hill, deemed the attempt to hear the applications separately "totally inappropriate".

Committee chairman Alan Bradley appeared to accept these objections in his final judgement, saying: "I can see how important it is for the school that these classrooms be constructed in the holidays. My recommendation would be to grant permission for the classrooms but you can't actually occupy them until you've got planning consent to move to the next stage of the development."

But Mr Lees refuted this argument in his letter, adding: "To deny the school temporary science classes on the basis it has something to do with a future development plan is not acceptable."

The proposed temporary building was granted to occupy an area in QK's car park for the next three years. It will stand at 13 metres high, comprise six classrooms and will have a green-coloured exterior. There will be nine more parking spaces created outside the building to be used by staff.

The school's bin store has been relocated and a large mountain ash tree is to be felled.

The BSF plans are due to go to Westminster Council on October 8.

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