Shoreditch Park parents petition against Hackney Council plans to build a block of flats in the primary school's playground
PUBLISHED: 11:22 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:30 14 February 2020
Parents have launched a petition against Hackney Council's plans to build a block of flats in their kids' school playground.
The council obtained planning permission in 2018 to construct 93 flats and an early years centre at Shoreditch Park Primary School in Bridport Place as part of its multi-billion pound redevelopment of the Britannia Leisure Centre.
But before it can start work, the council must get permission from the Secretary of State for Education to change the school's land use from education to housing.
It is currently consulting on the change before it can apply - but angry parents at the school which backs onto Shoreditch Park have launched a petition against the plans, and it has already garnered 550 signatures.
The council wants to take land from the north-west section of the playground, part of which is already occupied by the developer Hoxton Press' marketing suite.
Parents are worried the loss of the playground and chances for their children to be physically active will negatively impact on their health.
One of them told the Gazette: "Since the school has a football pitch on this piece of land, it is not so easy to grab this area. If there was just a garden or grass - they would not have any problems with this.
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"We think that a construction site that will be next to school at least for two-and-a-half years according to council forecasts, and the future buildings will violate our kids' right for education, privacy and appropriate learning environment."
The council says it has already invested £700,000 into the school and that the scheme would provide a further £2m - £1.3m of which would go towards the early years centre on the ground floor of the proposed building.
A car park has already been converted within the school land into a playground, and a ball court would be built in Gopsall Street, although activities there would require extra staffing because of safety requirements. If the council gets the go-ahead, construction would begin later this year and be completed by 2022.
The whole scheme will include a new secondary school and leisure centre as well as flats in two blocks of five and 16 storeys, with 481 flats - 400 of which will be luxury apartments to be sold commercially and 48 homes for social rent.
Construction of the new secondary school began last summer and it should be ready by September 2021 along with the new leisure centre. Four years ago the whole school, which was called Whitmore at the time, was at risk of being demolished to make way for a new secondary school.
The council's consultation ends on February 21.
To see the consultation go to consultation.hackney.gov.uk/communications-and-consultation/s-77/.
See the petition at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/playgrounds-not-for-sale-let-s-save-shoreditch-park-primary-school-playground.