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Kingsland Fire Station school project signed off – but no affordable housing

15:50 18 January 2017

An artist's impression of the school on the left, as you go along Downham Road towards Kingsland Road. Picture: Benyon Estate

An artist's impression of the school on the left, as you go along Downham Road towards Kingsland Road. Picture: Benyon Estate

Archant

Kingsland Fire Station will be flattened to make way for a school and flats – but there will be no affordable housing on site.

The Education Funding Agency (EFA), a government body, said it couldn’t afford to provide any because it had paid the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) £16million for the land – a figure now thought to exceed its value as a school and housing site.

But at the meeting last week, it was told to stump up £1.5million to build affordable homes elsewhere in the borough.

De Beauvoir landowners the Benyon Estate will build the school with 68 flats on top of it, raking in millions of pounds in profit, which will be split between them and the EFA.

The project has been criticised by both councillors and MP Meg Hillier in the past, with Cllr James Peters calling it a “commercial development masquerading as a social development”.

Nick Perry, of the Hackney Society planning group, was at the meeting and hit out at the lack of affordable housing. He told the Gazette: “A whole bunch of public money held by the EFA to fund schools has been shifted to the LFEPA balance sheet and done less than nil to help the housing crisis in the process.”

But the Benyon Estate defended its role this week. Edward Benyon said: “One of the biggest challenges we face is putting the right infrastructure in place for future generations and a key priority is helping to educate our young people.”

The Hackney New Primary School was conceived in 2011 by a group of Hackney locals and opened in temporary accommodation in September 2015 within the secondary school on Downham Road. The EFA did not respond to the Gazette’s request for a comment about the lack of affordable housing.

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