PLEASE NOT THAT BECAUSE OF THEIR AGE MANY EXTERNAL (AND SOME INTERNAL) LINKS COULD BE BROKEN
Click here for ASAG’s feedback from the meeting
“We are still firmly opposed to a free school on the old Ashmount site. We have shown we have plenty of planned primary school places in our schools, and that parents can already expect a first-rate education in Islington for their children. However, the Department for Education seem determined to proceed with a free school which is not needed, and it’s our responsibility to make sure families in the borough get the maximum benefit from the site. That’s why we are bringing a report to our Executive that sets out a plan for the future of the old Ashmount site, and also the Bridge Integrated Learning Space and our Pupil Referral Unit at Dowrey Street. Essentially we are proposing to split the Ashmount site in half, with half the site retained for approximately 50 affordable homes. This split would provide the free school with enough outside space to meet national guidance and would be comparable to other similar-sized schools in the borough, while also allowing us to build badly-needed affordable family homes. This whole process has been chaotic and opaque so we have decided to set out a clear position. The ball is now in the DfE’s court.”
“The proposer group have decided to delay the start of their statutory consultation until later in the year, on the basis that the Department’s discussions with Islington Borough Council about a potential site for the free school are still on-going and the proposers would prefer to undertake their consultation once they have a site clearly identified.
“46. Having carefully considered the question of educational need, I am satisfied that the Council’s evidence on this issue is robust and clearly demonstrates that the loss of this site for educational use will not undermine the future provision of school places either in Islington or in the adjacent London Borough of Haringey. Furthermore it is clear that refurbishment of the school buildings has been thoroughly investigated and has led to the conclusion that they cannot be easily adapted to meet modern educational standards. I conclude that the allocation is supported by robust evidence on the provision of educational accommodation.”
ASAG “learned of children due to start school in September this year who have been refused places at both Coleridge and the new Ashmount primary schools. One of those children, who lives very close indeed to the old Ashmount school, has been offered a place at a school in Copenhagen Street, at the other end of the Borough”.
“Many parents have been offered places miles away, both in Islington and in Haringey.”
“It seems that there are likely to be more than enough children to fill a class if Ashmount School were to reopen as a free school this year, and probably enough for 2 classes.”
The letter in question:
Friday, 6 July 2012
Thank you for signing the petition calling on the Council to keep the current Ashmount school site in educational use
Ashmount school is moving to its state-of-the-art new building in October 2012, which will leave the current site empty. If we kept the old site in educational use beyond this, it would be by opening a new school there. The debate about keeping the old site in educational use therefore rests on the question of whether we need another new school.
After listening carefully to the arguments, and investigating the matter thoroughly, we have concluded that Islington does not need a new school. As it stands there are 14,012 primary school places in Islington for 12,355 primary age children. That’s over 1,650 unused places in our primary schools. Looking into the future we predict that although our schools will become fuller, there will still be surplus places in our existing schools. If the situation changes and it turns out that we do need extra school spaces in North Islington, it will be significantly cheaper and quicker to expand some of our existing schools who have the capacity to take more children in their current buildings.
Putting a new school on the current Ashmount site would either require very major works to the current building, or a new school building on the site. The cost of this would be many millions of pounds. You and fellow taxpayers would end up paying for this very expensive work to build a school the borough doesn’t need.
Finally, we believe that creating an unnecessary new school could create problems for the existing schools in the area by taking pupils away from them. This would cut the budgets of our schools and so might affect the standard of education for other children.
In summary, keeping the current Ashmount site for education would be unnecessary, a bad use of public money, and potentially detrimental for the education of children in nearby schools. It is for these reasons that I’m afraid the council cannot support your petition.
Corporate Director Children’s Services Children’s Services Department 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XR
T 020 7527 5624
W www.islington.gov.uk E firstname.lastname@example.org
Received from ASAG 7/12/2011
LBI’s narrowly focused and partial local consultation ends soon - Dec 12th! – please respond – details are here.
1. Highgate Ward Councillors write in October 2011 to Michael Gove (the Education Minister) demanding he take note of LBI's cavalier failure to address serious Primary School place shortages in the existing Ashmount School catchment area - the removal of the school will create serious problems now and in the future. LBI has not asked or investigated this issue at all. To see their letter, look here.
2. The Highgate Society write to Islington Councillors and Executive members to point out that the plans are a breach of LBI's own planning policies, will destroy a last bit of open land in the area, will put at risk a remarkable building by Festival of Britain architect H.T. Cadbury-Brown (if the neglected, badly mucked about eye-sore offends you, read here for another side of the story), and lastly fails to deal with on-going educational needs & possibilities in the area.
3. ASAG would like a study by architects Purcell Miller Tritton on the possibility of refurbishing the existing school building - which would not be vastly expensive, and could well be home to a school. download here (this pdf is large). This study is in-depth and detailed - it was commissioned by LBI but they do not seem to have seen fit to make it publicly available).
For background on the School site plans, on ASAG and other information, click here
14/11/2011 from ASAG
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION OF ALL ASAG MEMBERS
Ashmount Site Action Group
On October 31 the London Borough of Islington sent a letter to local residents asking for views on the proposed change of use of the Ashmount Site – that is the future use of the site currently occupied by the school. This is known as Site Allocation. After this consultation the proposed Site Allocations (all the sites in Islington for which development is proposed) will be approved by LB Islington before being sent to a planning inspector who will consider them in spring next year.
Both LB Islington and the planning inspector will be influenced by the number and nature of the responses to this consultation. This is the stage when future use of the site is decided. Do make your views known – it will make a difference.
If you still have the consultation letter you will see that the Ashmount Site Allocation is almost hidden among other Proposed Submissions of Development Management Policies and Site Allocations. It is all the more important that all concerned residents respond to the consultation request and ensure the council knows their views. Responses must be received by LBI Planning before 5.00 pm on December 12, 2011.
At the ASAG public meetings and at the Hillrise Ward Partnership Meeting at Caxton House, on October 3 the majority of local residents were in favour of continued educational use for the site. Not one voice in the packed meeting supported the council’s proposal to develop a housing estate on the site.
To simplify the obscure manner of the council’s request for your views on the Ashmount Site, you can:
Email your comment to: LDF@islington.gov.uk
Post it to FREEPOST: RSEA-CUHA-YYAS, Planning Policy, Islington Council, 222 Upper Street, London N1 1XR.
Please write ‘Ashmount Site 0IS10’ before your comment.
You can see the relevant documents on the proposed change of use of the Ashmount Site online at www.islington.gov.uk/LDF - you then have to find and click on Site Allocations. When you open this to reach the Ashmount Site information, you have to find Site 0IS10 on pp 162-164. In order to see what comments and answers have already been received on this matter you go back to www.islington.gov.uk/LDF and find and click on to Consultation Statements – and scroll to 4 Ongoing and additional sites consultation pp 64-74.
ASAG thinks LBI’s responses to the comments so far are feeble. While LBI have presented no alternatives to their own plan of high density housing, several educational facilities have already expressed interest in the site. In replying to the LBI consultation we suggest residents make any or all of the following points.
A reminder from ASAG (Ashmount Site Action Group)
Ashmount School site development – a meeting convened by Islington Council and Hillrise Councillors
Monday 3rd October at Caxton House on St John's Way, 6.30-7.30pm
Hillrise Councillors, and others from London Borough of Islington, including Councillor Convery, have at last called a public meeting to hear from local people concerning the fate of the Ashmount School site. This is likely to be the only public meeting that Islington Councillors are going to hold about plans for future use of the Ashmount School Site. Please make every effort to attend and hold your elected representatives to account – they should listen to local opinion – and must consider other possible uses of this site – such as continued use for education or even other community use. This is the sole local amenity in an already very densely populated part of the Borough. This goes too of course for the parts of Haringey adjoining the site. Here are some key facts, as presented at the last ASAG public meeting: Ashmount School is intended to be moved to its new site in Sept 2012. Until then it remains designated as a site for Educational purposes. After Sept 2012 Islington Council intends to make the statutory application to central government to change its use to ‘residential’. This process will take about 6 months. Therefore there are still about 18 months left to find an educational establishment that might be interested in taking the site on. ASAG has approached some local schools in the area and already have three expressions of interest. The Free Schools Network has also been contacted to make them aware of the site, in case anyone locally is trying to set up a Free School.
Paul Convery is the Islington Councillor who will preside at the 3rd Oct meeting - he is the Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Planning, Transport and Leisure. He will determine the fate of the site. He is on record as saying that the Council intends to build Affordable Housing on the site – which we understand to mean housing for rental by the Council. Indeed you may remember that this option was the (only) option mentioned on the most recent Council consultative questionnaire. That questionnaire did not offer you the choice to vote for anything else – certainly not continued use of the site for educational purposes. LBI’s official policy is that all new housing built in Islington should not carry with it entitlement to a parking permit, although obviously parking is only restricted during certain hours. Outside that time, new residents may compete freely for parking in the streets around the site. This policy, like the local listing of the School building, or tree preservation orders, or the inviolability of Metropolitan Open Land, is of course provisional cannot be relied upon indefinitely.
LBI claim that they already have the funding in place to provide for an affordable housing development on the Ashmount site. The Council are very keen to build new Council owned housing. To put this in context: