Hoxton play area opens gates amid demolition fear

Whitmore primary school pupils launch balloons in the playground

Whitmore primary school pupils launch balloons in the playground - Credit: Archant

A brand new £40,000 playground with a custom-designed treehouse, teepee and willow groves has opened at Whitmore School – but could be demolished along with the whole school if plans go ahead to establish a secondary school there.

The infants’ playground at Whitmore Primary School in Bridport Place, Hoxton, was launched on Tuesday.

Head of business at the school, Liz Gillen, said: “The weather was wonderful – the children all had balloons which they set off into the sky, and the headteacher cut the ribbon with one of the children.

“The parents and children stayed all day – they were really excited. There was also African drumming and circus skills going on.”

But parents were told in February by the head of Hackney Learning Trust, Anne Canning, that a shortage of 180 secondary school places from September 2017 means a new school is needed. The only feasible sites they can identify in the borough are both by Shoreditch Park – Britannia Leisure Centre and the “outstanding” primary.

But the Hyde Road sports centre is already earmarked as one of five potential sites in the area needed for a ventilation shaft for Crossrail 2. That means even if a school is approved on that site, the rail project’s need would come first, leaving education bosses with no choice but to build on the Whitmore site instead.