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Plans to bulldoze three Islington schools for homes moves closer

PUBLISHED: 11:07 21 September 2012

Archant

The future of three school grounds moved closer to being decided after the council rubber stamped housing plans.

The go-ahead to bulldoze the former sites of Richard Cloudesley Special School, in Golden Lane, Moreland Primary School, in Goswell Road, both in Finsbury and Ashmount Primary School, in Ashmount Road, Archway, to make way for new housing was granted by the council last week.

The Moreland site, which borders the King’s Square Estate, caused fury among residents because the plans involved knocking down garages and losing 100 parking spaces, as well as ripping up a new £150,000 football pitch. But the pill has been sweetened by a promise current residents on the estate will have the first refusal on the brand new homes.

The proposal to sell the Ashmount site, which has been the subject of a bitter feud between the council and residents, for housing were also passed at Thursday’s meeting of the executive.

The scheme would see the building demolished, when the pupils have moved to a new school in Crouch Hill – but people who live nearby say the 1960s building should be saved and insist the areas is already overcrowded.

The council must request a change in use from education to housing from education secretary Michael Gove, and last year campaigners asked him to block the move.

Francis Wilkinson, chairman of the Ashmount Site Action Group, said: “They can’t do anything until they get permission from Michael Gove, and as far as I am aware they haven’t even asked him yet.

“This is just putting a rubber stamp on something the council doesn’t have any authority for – they are keeping their contractors happy.

“I think there is a fair chance he will block the move and use the site for a free school.”

At the meeting, Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said the ideal solution was for the council to build the new homes “in-house”.

But they could only afford to do this on one site – Moreland – so the other two would be sold off at a discount to housing associations.

He added: “Like buses, you wait for ages and three come at once. It makes sense for the Moreland site to be done in-house, so people don’t have the complication of multiple landlords. It’s also fair that the people who have to put up with the work on the estate get the first chance to move into one of the new homes.”

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