Second Mossbourne Academy given the go-ahead in South Hackney despite misgivings from English Heritage

An architect's impression of the new Mossbourne Academy in Victoria Park

An architect's impression of the new Mossbourne Academy in Victoria Park - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a second Mossbourne Academy in a South Hackney conservation area have been given the go-ahead, despite misgivings from a national historical society.

An architect's image of what the new Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy will look like.

An architect's image of what the new Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy will look like. - Credit: Archant

The team behind the lauded Mossbourne Academy has teamed up with Hackney Council to secure government funding to create a new school on the site of the former Cardinal Pole School in Victoria Park Road.

English Heritage urged the council to reconsider the design of the new Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy, voicing “serious concerns” and warning the modern four-storey block will damage the setting of the historic Grade II-listed former Hugenot hospital already on site.

Views of the building which was used by the French Protestant community and dates back to 1865 will be obliterated from Well Street Common.

While the former school housed 360 students and staff – who moved to a new site in Morning Lane last year – the new academy will cater for 950 people.

While many residents opposed the scale of the plans and had voiced concern about the impact on parking and congestion in the area, others welcome the introduction of a new senior school in South Hackney, where demand for school places is set to increase in the coming years.

Architect Jestico + Whiles had gone back to the drawing board after the Hackney Design Review Panel (DRP) - which gives independent guidance on major developments - concluded in March that the “low-budget building” fell a long way short of the original Mossbourne Academy in Downs Park Road.

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The proposals were passed at a council planning committee meeting this month.

In a statement, Cllr Rita Krishna said: “Despite this being an immensely complicated project involving a compact site and a listed building, with a very limited budget from the government, we’ve been able to adapt the plans to take on board residents’ concerns.”

Trees subject to protection orders will now be destroyed and Lammas Road will be blocked to traffic from Victoria Park Road.

The existing building with its grand staircase and ornate Gothic features will accommodate the school’s library in the original court room of the French Hospital, and the former chapel will be converted to a drama space.

The new building will accommodate a sports hall and assembly facilities, which will be open to the public, as well as dining, performance and specialist teaching facilities.

Jude Harris, associate director at Jestico + Whiles said: “We have worked closely with the client and local authority to design a building which is sympathetic to the site and its heritage status alongside the aspirations of Mossbourne Community Academy.”

Pending the necessary final approvals by the Greater London Authority and the Secretary of State, work will start on site this autumn and the academy will open for its first cohort of students next September.