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The independent London newspaper

Planners recommend that school is allowed to move into Hampstead police station

Base was shut down by Boris Johnson during his time as London Mayor

08 November, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

PLANNING officials have upset objectors trying to stop a school moving into the old Hampstead police station by recommending the project is approved.

The final decision now rests with councillors who are due to rule on the application from Abacus Primary School next Thursday evening.

The school, originally set up for families in Belsize Park, has been busing pupils to a temporary site in King’s Cross while a planning saga has rumbled on. The case goes back to when Boris Johnson closed the police base in Rosslyn Hill during his time as London Mayor.

The intake has been cut to 210 – the original plan was for 420 places – and a rooftop playground has been scrapped during the negotiations.

Existing primary schools in Belsize Park and Hampstead, however, have still warned that the arrival of Abacus will leave them in financial difficulties – unfilled places lead to less funding. Camden Council has warned repeatedly of a school rolls crisis. People living in the area meanwhile fear more school-run congestion, although Abacus insists it will be a “car free” school with wardens patrolling the streets.

The school said: “We want to bring our outstanding opportunities closer to the area we were established to serve and breathe fresh life into the disused Hampstead police station. We’ve given the whole community an opportunity to contribute to the evolution of our proposals. We’re confident that those as yet unconvinced will find their fears misplaced once the school is established at Rosslyn Hill.”

It added: “We trust that good planning judgement and compassion will now enable us to establish a permanent home and realise the considerable wider benefits of our proposals for the community and local economy.”

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