'Not befitting a modern education'? Plans for temporary primary school in BSix's car park slammed by the Hackney Society
PUBLISHED: 18:54 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 19:47 11 June 2019
Plans to build a temporary primary school in BSix's carpark and sports hall could result in "poor quality buildings not befitting a modern education", the Hackney Society has warned.
Councillors on Hackney Council's planning sub-committee are due to decide tomororw whether to give the go-ahead to the Olive School's proposals for the site in Kenninghall Road, Lower Clapton.
Despite the society's objections, officers have recommended the scheme get the green light.
The free school wants to build the three-storey block to house up to 360 students for six years while it is waiting for a permanent home at the former Hackney Police Station in Lower Clapton Road to be ready.
The Olive School is already using two temporary sites but permission to remain at the one in Cazenove Road expires soon. The other at Hoxton University Technical College in Kingsland Road is apparently "logistically problematic".
Last year the Gazette reported BSix Sixth Form College was "browbeaten" into selling the land to the Muslim faith school at an estimated loss of £2.15m.
The college, which was struggling financially, had an option to sell the land for £7.15m to Peabody Trust housing association for 47 affordable homes, but was pressed by the Department for Education to accept £5m.
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Members of the Hackney Society heritage organisation have said the Olive School's proposed design is "flawed in many ways".
"The proposed temporary period is far too long for such a design and some pupils' entire junior school experience will be of these poor quality buildings not befitting a modern education," they said in a statement.
"The design is perfunctory as befits such a low cost, utilitarian approach and results in poor quality teaching accommodation.
"If, as is suggested, the permanent site struggles with accommodating increasing numbers, there will be strong pressure for these prefabs to become permanent or for occupation to be extended for a further period which would be wholly unacceptable."
But the council's planning officer Barry Coughlan said the design offered "an acceptable standard of educational accommodation".
The old police station was bought by the DfE for £7.3m after London Mayor Boris Johnson closed it as part of cost-cutting measures in 2013, and given to the Olive School in 2014.
Hackney Council rejected the school's planning application but that decision was taken to judicial review where a Planning Inspector granted planning consent.
One condition is that pupils should move into the new premises in staggered bursts, with full capacity by 2025 because of concerns about traffic at the school entrance.
The Olive School was approached for comment.