OPPONENTS of plans to partially rebuild an oversubscribed primary school have tentatively welcomed a pause designed to encourage a more harmonious alternative.
Campaigners, who had collected hundreds of signatures in petitions, warned the proposed £8.9m redevelopment scheme for Vaughan Primary School in Vaughan Road, West Harrow, required to accommodate an expansion from two to three forms of entry from September, would create flooding, overlooking, light-blocking, parking and traffic problems.
Members of Harrow Council’s planning committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to defer a decision after committee chairman Councillor Keith Ferry (Labour), portfolio holder for planning and regeneration, said: “The purpose of deferral is to allow the applicant to consider whether they would like withdraw the application and submit an alternative application which has a different physical layout for the building and to decide whether they are able to do that with the budget available to them.”
Councillors criticised plans to demolish the teaching block on the south of the site and construct a replacement building to house the junior school on the north of the site nearest the neighbouring homes. The second block would be refurbished as a base for the infant classes.
Marcus Toombs, for the school, told the meeting this arrangement had been selected to allow the school to continue to operate throughout the works.
Rebuilding on the existing footprint would incur costs of £1million for temporary classrooms, create an even worse flood risk and would leave a complex nowhere near as safe and secure for pupils and staff as the one proposed, he said.
After the meeting, Mike Neale, of Dorchester Avenue, whose parents Rosalyn and Graeme have been among the most vocal critics of the plans, said: “For the moment, we’re happy - but let’s see what they come up with.
“They are using short-term conveniences [to pursue this design] when the building’s going to be there for at least 50 years.”
One neighbour, who gave her name only as Elizabeth, added: “No other options were ever given and there was no proper consultation.”