Strong objections against demolition of historic school building

Jenny Stephen, headteacher at South Hampstead High School, is heartened by the way our proposals were received from the council and the wider community (School undeterred by revamp refusal, H&H October 16). It is only with considerable difficulty that C

Jenny Stephen, headteacher at South Hampstead High School, is "heartened by the way our proposals were received from the council and the wider community" (School undeterred by revamp refusal, H&H October 16). It is only with considerable difficulty that Camden's grounds for refusal could be seen to be providing heartening support!

They included the separate statements - that the proposed demolition of the Grade 2 listed Victorian school in Maresfield Gardens would be "detrimental to the character and appearance of the Fitzjohns/Netherhall Conservation Area" and, likewise, that the proposed redevelopment would have the same "detrimental" outcome.

She is also at best seriously misguided if not disingenuous in her interpretation of the views of the "wider community." The implication of her statement is that it largely supported both the demolition and the proposed plans for redevelopment of the site.

As far as the demolition is concerned, Camden Committee Services' Report includes the following informed observations: English Heritage registered "strong objections" and the Conservation Area Advisory Committee stated that "it is highly regrettable that No 3 Maresfield Gardens, a distinguished building that makes a valuable contribution to the CA, is the one selected for demolition".


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The Heath and Hampstead Society expressed "reservations on several issues, notably the demolition of the existing building". The local NNA (Netherhall Neighbourhood Association) submission listed a variety of objections, especially to the demolition. It would be difficult to describe any of these statements as endorsements!

Ms. Stephen asserts that there was "only one letter of objection from a resident." In fact, there were numerous letters of objection from individual residents. These were obviously sent to Camden rather than to the school, though their number was well exceeded by those supporting the school's plans, clearly reflecting a view that the existing facilities are inadequate for the needs of a school, the pupil roll of which has been deliberately allowed to grow over the last few decades well beyond that for which it was originally designed.

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Dr Mayer Hillman

Netherhall Gardens, NW3

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