Insult added to injury for opponents of massive Stoke Newington school development

Opponents of a controversial school redevelopment feel insult has been added to injury after being asked to stump up for its new playground equipment.

Residents of Wordsworth Road and Prince George Road, Stoke Newington, were “devastated” in May, when Hackney Council’s planning committee approved the �15.9million rebuild of Horizon Special Needs School on their doorsteps.

They had argued the development was too big and swallowed up the play area used by the school’s children.

So they confess they were “quite surprised” to receive a knock at their doors to find two teachers and several pupils outside, asking for sponsor money for the school.

James McQuat, a resident of Prince George Road, said: “As the neighbours of the school lost a long battle to try to preserve the children’s outdoor space, there is an obvious irony in being asked for money for the school playground.

“There was a little smiling boy asking for money and there’s no way I could say no, but why are the council letting these children go around with a begging bowl? It’s like it was done deliberately to wind us up, ” he added.

Mr McQuat questioned why the school was relying on the goodwill of its neighbours to buy vital equipment, and why the council wasn’t coming up with the funds themselves.

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In a statement provided through the Learning Trust, a school spokesman said the sponsorship idea came from the autistic and special needs youngsters themselves.

“As a pupil-led activity, this is entirely independent to the Building Schools for the Future project,” he said.