CONTROVERSIAL plans to build two floors of flats on top of a primary school have raised fears the town hall is putting its budget above child safety.
Council officers and developers propose expanding St John's Primary School, in Felix Road, West Ealing by creating a new three-storey building. It would replace the current one-story building and provide room for an extra 180 children.
About 80 flats would then be built on top, a mixture of social and private homes with more private housing along the edge of the site in Felix Road.
Ealing Council said child safety would be its priority when designs are drawn up but parents said they were uneasy about the idea.
Lorraine Stephenson said: “They should develop the school. It’s a brilliant school doing great things for the children. But I don’t think we want housing on top of it. Schools should be just for the pupils.
Another mother Michiko Okajima, added: "We don’t want that for safety reasons. You wouldn’t know who was living upstairs."
The plans would be part of the regeneration of the Green Man Lane Estate next door and are being thrashed out between the council and developers A2Dominion and Rydon.
Child protection experts said the scheme was ‘unusual’.
A spokeswoman for the Victoria Climbié Foundation, which is based in Southall, said: “There are clearly implications for safeguarding here and a matter for wider consultation.
“We must be careful that the need for more housing doesn’t override the protection of children in the school.”
A town hall spokeswoman said the scheme was merely one of a range of options which may be presented to the cabinet in the autumn and that would be subject to a full consultation.
She refused to say how much the sale of the property would reduce the cost of the new school, which would normally be between £8 and £10million. But in a report officers said it could be built for a ‘relatively modest capital cost to the council’.
Council leader Julian Bell praised his officers for coming up with the ‘innovative’ scheme.
He said the council had already borrowed £110m to fund primary school expansion across the borough as it needs to provide about 1,170 extra spaces by 2016.
He said: ”We’ve pretty much borrowing as much as we can and this goes some way to squaring the circle. Child safety will be a crucial element of the design.”