Shoreditch Park Academy: Hackney is already advertising controversial school even though it has no planning permission

The proposed four-storey structure for the temporary City of London Academy Shoreditch Park, which c

The proposed four-storey structure for the temporary City of London Academy Shoreditch Park, which could be sited in Haggerston Park until 2019 - Credit: Archant

Neighbours say controversial plans to build an academy in Haggerston Park are a “done deal” as the school is already being marketed to pupils – even though it hasn’t been given planning permission.

An application to build the four-storey block in the park is scheduled to be heard at a town hall planning meeting on November 9.

The building would house pupils from City of London Academy Shoreditch Park until their permanent home in Hyde Road is finished in 2019. It would then house pupils from another secondary school planned for Hackney Downs until 2022.

A feasibility study of whether it is in fact possible to build a school near Shoreditch Park was due back in June but has not been made public, and no consultation has been carried out on the school’s proposed permanent site where Britannia Leisure Centre now stands.

But flyers advertising open evenings are already being distributed, and the Learning Trust has the school listed in its 2017 secondary school admission guide for parents.

Park users say the community orchard and BMX club in Haggerston Park will be taken away if the school gets the green light.

Nick Bridge said: “The space was used as a temporary school in 2008 for one year, after which time the council failed in its duty to return the area to parkland. How can we now have any confidence that the land will not be lost to the park forever after the latest six-year proposed development, which would be in place for a much longer period?”

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Pat Turnbull from campaign group Save Britannia Leisure Centre, which has clocked up 2,500 petition signatures, added: “If this is passed, it makes opposing the permanent school site on the Britannia site harder.”

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble said: “We’re accepting applications for the proposed new school following DfE approval to do so.

“As it is not yet open – and as such has not been included in the pan-London allocation system – parents are able to apply for a place in addition to the normal six places. This is usual practice for new schools.”

When asked if the school project was a fait accompli, she said: “The proposed City Academy Shoreditch Park is a key part of our wider schools building programme to ensure there are enough school places for local children.

“We have always been clear that a new school and leisure centre on the Britannia site are our priority, and we will be launching a consultation into the options for the site, to deliver that priority, soon.

“As with any planning application, it will be considered on its own merit, regardless of any related decisions.”