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Bitter feud over Hornsey Rise free school could finally be at an end

PUBLISHED: 15:52 24 July 2014 | UPDATED: 15:57 24 July 2014

The old Ashmount site has been mired in controversy for years.

The old Ashmount site has been mired in controversy for years.

Archant

A bitter feud over a new free school could finally be at an end after a deal was thrashed out.

Former Ashmount site timeline

Oct 10 - contractor chosen to build new Ashmount School in Crouch Hill

Sep 12 - Islington Council passes plan to bulldoze old site for housing

Dec 12 - Haringey councillors write to education secretary Michael Gove asking him to keep it as a school

Dec 12 - old school closes

Jan 13 - new Ashmount school opens in Crouch Hill opens

Feb 13 - consultation on future of the site announced

May 13 - DfE announces Islington will have a new free school

Oct 13 - Whitehall Park looks set to open in 2014 and appoints headteacher

Oct 13 - squatters move in to the empty building

Nov 13 - squatters evicted

Jan 14 - council offer compromise of halving the site between school and houses

Feb 14 - Dfe announce new school is over subscribed

Mar 14 - a Freedom of Information request reveals on 72 pupils have been signed up

Jun 14 - £10million plan for the new school unveiled

Jul 14 - temporary classrooms approved so Whitehall Park can open in the autumn

Jul 14 - deal finally reached?

The future of the former Ashmount site, in Ashmount Road, Hornsey Rise, has been steeped in controversy ever since it moved to a new £16.5million premises in Crouch Hill.

Islington Council wanted to use the site for housing, creating homes and raising cash from the sale, and says the extra school places are not needed.

Meanwhile the owners claim the new school is popular with parents and its entry year is oversubscribed.

Now a final deal has been agreed, with roughly half the site used for housing and 25 additional places being found at the new school for children with sever learning difficulties.

Joe Caluori, Islington Council’s executive member for children and families said: “A year ago we faced losing 82 affordable family homes and £3million in capital funding for our schools so that the Department for Education (DfE) could open a free school for which there is absolutely no need in the area.

“We made our opposition clear and whilst obviously this is a decision solely for the Secretary of State, representations made by politicians, parents, teachers and unions have helped the DfE see sense and agree to the deal we suggested earlier this year.”

Part of the agreement with the DfE includes eight new residential spaces for needs, including 8 residential places for children with special needs elsewhere in the borough.

Cllr Calouri said: “I believe we have achieved an acceptable outcome.”

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