Go ahead for �13million Archway school move

PLANS to relocate an Archway primary school moved a step closer last night when Islington Council selected the contractor for the project.

Ashmount School, in Ashmount Road, will be rebuilt on open space at Crouch Hill Recreation Ground at a cost of �13million by Willmott Dixon.

The scheme has been marred by years of delays, with some objectors complaining that the new site is important for wildlife and others arguing that the current 1960s building is important architecturally and could be refurbished at half the cost of a new school.

Among those who has backed the relocation bid is comedian and Ashmount school governor Arabella Weir, and supporters insist the latest decision will benefit everybody, not just parents and pupils.

The promised regeneration improvements include a revamped park space, a new building for Bowlers Nursery and the refurbishment of the CAPE Youth Centre.

Councillor Richard Watts, Islington Council’s executive member for children and young people, said: “We believe that our children should have a brand new school building with the first class facilities they deserve. The approval of the contractor means that the Ashmount move will go ahead.

“The development of the Crouch Hill site will help the whole community, from the families using Bowlers Nursery, to the young people who spend their time at the CAPE and local residents.”

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Demolition of the old recreation centre at Crouch Hill is due to begin later this year, with building of the new facilities starting in January 2011. The school will reopen in its new location in September 2012.

Ashmount headteacher Pana McGee said: “This is wonderful news for our whole school community who will benefit from the amazing new educational environment.”