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Plans to build new West Harrow school building on playing field 'ridiculous'
Homeowners whose properties back onto a quiet school playing field are campaigning against “ridiculous” plans to build on the land as part of an expansion.
People living in roads surrounding Vaughan Primary School in The Gardens were horrified when plans to build a two-storey block with 12 classrooms and two halls on the school’s play area were shown to some residents in a consultation during the summer.
The proposals, which include the expansion of eight other schools, were agreed by Harrow Council earlier this year and the new block at Vaughan is to accommodate an extra 210 children by September 2018 to ease the borough’s primary school places crisis.
But those in nearby Dorchester Avenue, whose back gardens currently back onto the leafy field, are angry at how close the proposed new building, which does not yet have planning permission, will be to their homes and say it will be an invasion of privacy.
Rosalyn Neale says £20,000 will be taken off the value of her house and has started a petition against the plan, which the council predicts will cost £8.9million, and distributed posters which many residents have stuck in their front windows and cars.
She said: “Presently we have wonderful views of all the greenery and grass but if this goes ahead all we’ll see is this two-storey building instead.
“There are privacy issues, there are noise issues – we’ll be overlooked and hemmed into our small gardens.”
A key concern of the campaigners is that despite the huge expansion of the school, developers plan to only increase parking spaces by one, to 35, and Mrs Neale worries that parents and staff will cause traffic chaos on their residential street.
She added: “That’s only one more than at present, and you would imagine there will be 50 per cent more teachers and staff – how can they possibly consider that’s enough?”
Residents have also been angered by the council only seemingly inviting a random selection of them to view the plans, which are not yet publicly available.
They have suggested that the council explores other solutions, such as building on allotments south of the school so that it retains its playing field – especially given the Government’s commitment to sport as part of the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Anant Shah, who also lives in Dorchester Avenue, told the Harrow Times : “It’s ridiculous – it’s going to cause lots of traffic problems and it’s a loss of privacy.
“Obviously we want the children to have a good education – nobody is against that – but not at the inconvenience of residents.”
An application for planning permission was due to be submitted last week but has been delayed in response to the outcry from residents.
Harrow Council has not yet responded to questions from the Harrow Times .