July 31 2014 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The row between a school and the people who live near it has erupted again amid accusations students are using a forbidden back door.
Pupils at St Mary Magdelene Academy, in Liverpool Road, Holloway, are only allowed to use the gates to access a school building in nearby Sheringham Road at the start and end of the day – terms dictated by Islington Council to “not prejudice the enjoyment of neighbours”.
But residents say sixth form students are using the entrance so regularly they have been given swipe cards to get in – breaching the planning conditions – which they say jeopardises the security of their homes.
Val Hammond, who lives nearby, said: “It may seem like a small issue but it is so infuriating. They have been breaching conditions left, right and centre and the council haven’t done anything about it even after we raised it several times.
“Now they say they can’t do anything because the school has put in an application to change the conditions.
“But nothing has changed, this is still a mixed residential area and these are the conditions we fought hard for to protect ourselves from the impact of this huge academy that has been shoe-horned in to a space not fit for purpose and is sprawling across everything.
“It affects everyone’s security, with people going in and out and it has turned into a flipping nightmare.”
Tension between the academy and residents has been running high since the school tried to open a special school in the former corners’ court in the adjacent St Mary Magdelene Gardens – which people in the area claimed would ruin the park and endanger lives through site traffic.
An Islington Council spokesman said: “We are still consulting on this planning application and welcome all views.”
No one from St Mary Magdelene Academy was available for comment at the time the Gazette went to press.