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Residents oppose plans by Avanti House School to relocate to Edgware
Residents are concerned a proposal to build a new school on their estate will "ruin the lives" of the local community if it is given the go-ahead.
People living on the Broadfields Estate in Edgware will form a residents association to thwart the plans of the Avanti Schools Trust to build a school for 1,680 pupils on a site they feel is far too small to accommodate it.
Hindu free school Avanti House, which has a primary school in Edgware and a secondary school in Harrow, has applied to Barnet Borough Council for planning permission to relocate its main school in Harrow to the site.
The decision to move came after the Department of Education ruled its current site in Tudor Road, Harrow was too small to accommodate a planned amalgamated school for pupils aged four to 18.
The Edgware site, between Hartland Drive and Broadfields Primary School, has been awaiting redevelopment since the infant and junior schools occupying it were knocked down and merged into a single primary school.
Property developer Andrew Simons, who is set to become chairman of the new Broadfields Estate Residents Association, has expressed his astonishment the Department for Education and the Education Funding Agency had identified the land as a fit place to build a school.
He is concerned about overcrowding and increased traffic on the already congested Broadfields Estate.
Mr Simons said: “Squeezing another school onto a small residential estate does not make sense to staff, pupils or local residents.
“The estate has a tiny entrance and exit, meaning anything other than light residential traffic would be unsustainable. The thought of any more cars is horrific.”
Mr Simons added parents dropping off and collecting their children from Broadfields Primary School already had a culture of bad parking and was worried any more pupils attending the site would create a “dangerous influx” – especially since many of the proposed school’s pupils would come from outside the borough.
He added: “At the moment 650 pupils attend the primary school and that’s bad enough. I can’t imagine what the estate will be like with an extra 1,680 pupils. It will be dangerous for anybody wanting to use the location.”
“I’m not opposing this because of property values, but because it is like attempting to squeeze 2kg of sugar into a jar that will only take 1kg.”
Avanti House School insisted it did not want to give the impression it was dismissing the concerns of residents and said the school, which is expected to be ranked outstanding in its first Ofsted report, would be an asset to the area.
School governor Ben Rich said: “It is early days yet. Barnet Council has not yet signed off the site.
“Avanti House is and wants to be an excellent community school generating great results and respectful, outward-looking pupils. We welcome applications from local residents of any faith and want to play a full part in the family of Barnet schools.”
He added the school understood the concerns of residents about traffic and would work to alleviate its impact through using measures including buses and safe cycling routes.
“We want to talk to residents to understand what will work best.
“If you’re going to have a school on this site, this is the school you want.”
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