Local Objectors Welcome the Decision by RBKC to Withdraw its Controversial Demolition & Rebuild Plans for Holland Park School
Kensington and Chelsea Council has announced that it intends to withdraw from the public inquiry into the redevelopment of Holland Park School. The inquiry - scheduled for February 2008 - follows on from the Council's controversial decision to grant planning permission for a redevelopment scheme that flouts its own guidelines for development in the borough and contravenes many aspects of national planning policy.
However, the Council have stated that they remain determined as ever to proceed with their contentious proposals for rebuilding the school based on selling off the school playing field for luxury housing. It is understood that a new application will be submitted for planning permission in the New Year.
RBKC has publicly assured objectors that this time all interested parties will be involved in the preparation of the revised plans but local objectors remain deeply sceptical. Given the Council has spent some £5million of tax payers money on its application to date and has shown no inclination to entertain any other proposals (than one selling off the playing field) there is little reason to believe the Council will be minded to change its position.
David White, Chairman of Campden Hill Residents' Association says, 'Whilst we welcome the Council's decision to withdraw its controversial application, we are disappointed that as a result there will be no independent inquiry. A major issue in our campaign is that there is a conflict of interest between the Applicant, (Holland Park School) and the decision maker (RBKC). This means that the Council, acting in its capacity as a planning authority, can approve its own plans. Throughout our campaign we have been promoting an 'Alternative Vision' based on keeping ALL the school land for the benefit of the school and the wider community. We want to see a state-of-the-art sports facility on the land the Council has designated for sale. The Council maintains there is no other way forward as they need to sell the land to finance the redevelopment of the school - this is patently not the case as the Council has been earmarked for Government funding under its Building Schools for the Future Program in 2009. In short, there is no reason whatsoever for the sale of the playing fields in a borough with notoriously limited amounts of open space. We continue to be supportive of the school and welcome the opportunity of a genuine dialogue with RBKC over the future of this important educational resource.
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