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Vaughan Primary School expansion issues 'will be addressed', says Harrow Council
Privacy and traffic issues predicted by angry homeowners against the expansion of a West Harrow school onto a playing field “will be addressed”, the council says.
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.
Homeowners in Dorchester Avenue, whose back gardens back onto the field, told the Harrow Times on Saturday that they would fight the proposals, which they argued would knock thousands off house prices and ruin the picturesque view from their houses.
The new building will cater for 210 more pupils by September 2018, and Matthew Paterson, senior planning professional at Harrow Council, said the authority had a duty to provide more places because of the massive increase in primary-age children forecast in the coming years.
He said that homeowners had been invited to two consultation meetings because of the concerns raised – although campaigners say not all homes received letters inviting them to the meetings.
Mr Paterson added: “Increased traffic, inadequate parking provision, traffic congestion and safety, restricted and disturbed views and invasion of privacy were among the issues raised at the public meeting.
“Where possible, all of these issues will be addressed during the planning process and the council is working closely with all schools to develop traffic calming measures and promote walk to school programmes to keep this to a minimum.
“As the matter is now in the planning system the council is unable to comment further until after the planning committee has made its decision.”
The expansion at Vaughan is just one of nine planned expansions agreed by the council in April to avert a crisis in primary school places – which has been experienced in other north London boroughs.
A key concern of the campaigners is that despite the £8.9million expansion of the school, developers plan to only increase parking spaces by one, to 35, and residents have started a petition and poster campaign against the plans.
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.