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Stoke Newington residents furious Hackney Council left them in dark over school construction plans

PUBLISHED: 10:48 05 October 2011 | UPDATED: 13:28 05 October 2011

The diggers move in at Horizon School, destroying all the trees with protection orders. Photo credit Emma Bartholomew

The diggers move in at Horizon School, destroying all the trees with protection orders. Photo credit Emma Bartholomew

Archant

Opponents of a massive school redevelopment in Stoke Newington are furious Hackney Council left them in the dark over construction plan changes, which will cause severe disruption on their very small street.

Residents of Wordsworth Road and Prince George Road were left “devastated” in May, when Hackney Council’s planning committee approved the £15.9million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) rebuild of Horizon Special Needs School on their doorsteps.

Among the many concerns they flagged up was that traffic mayhem would ensue once the school was opened, with over twice as many pupils attending than at present, many of whom will be bussed in from other boroughs.

But now they face traffic mayhem two years ahead of expected.

During a series of meetings held until last November between BSF officials, architects and residents, it was made clear that pupils would be moved to a temporary location while the current building was torn down and all construction vehicles would use the Wordsworth road entrance.

Residents believed this plan was still in effect - so they were dismayed to discover it had been changed when builders McLaren suspended the parking bays on Prince George Road outside their homes.

Now they realize this narrow street will be used for construction vehicles, while pupils remain in the building at the Wordsworth Road end.

Resident Marty Slaughter said: “This two year disruption on a very small street is a very, very big deal. No one ever asked us what we thought about it; they didn’t even bother to tell us about it.

“The real point is it is characteristic of the utter disregard, lack of consideration and respect, and contempt for the residents and their home life that was in evidence throughout this scheme,” she added.

Residents say they are particularly upset that their own councilor, Rita Krishna - who sits on the board of the Learning Trust as Cabinet Member for Youth - did not bother to notify them about the changes or respond to their emails.

A spokeswoman for Hackney Council said it is beneficial to pupils to remain on site.

“It minimises disruption to them, and the logistics of the construction allows this to happen,” she said.

She added that McLaren adheres to the Considerate Constructors scheme, which requires them to minimise the level of disruption to neighbouring residents.


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