Prior Weston School's playground to remain despite Islington planning 'oversight'

Prior Weston School play equipment and pergola which did not have planning permission

Prior Weston School play equipment and pergola which did not have planning permission. - Credit: Islington Council

A new playground build at a inner city school can remain even though it did not get planning permission before it was built.

Prior Weston School’s headteacher apologised for the oversight at Islington’s planning committee which agreed to the retrospective application, rather than telling the school to remove the play equipment.

It follows an enforcement investigation by the council as the local authority school had not asked for planning permission to build the outdoor playground at the Prior Weston Primary School on Whitecross Street near grade II* listed Ben Johnson and Breton Houses  at the Barbican.

It is also near St Luke’s and Chiswell Street conservation area.

The school had to ask for retrospective planning permission – if not it would have to demolish the new rooftop wooden playground which replaced old play equipment from 2010.

It follows retrospective planning permission to keep eight floodlights for a nearby multi use play area in 2021 when it been given permission for four floodlights.

The council wrote to 427 nearby residents and four objected.

Most Read

They had concerns about the design, accessibility, noise and privacy as the play area overlooks some flats and because the school had breached planning legislation.

The Golden Lane campus was built after councillors approved plans to knock down existing  school buildings and replace them with one, two and three storey buildings with an Early Years Centre, and a school for 360 primary students and 30 students with special needs, together with a first floor play area.

The council’s planning officer Daniel Jefferies said a boundary wall blocked views of nearby flats and the play space has been in use since the school building opened over a decade ago.

He said noise was “acceptable” and there will be no increase in the number of pupils.

Headteacher Fiona Maccorquodale took over halfway through the scheme and apologised as “we were not aware that planning permission was required”.

She said the new equipment was more inclusive for more children than the old playground.

Committee chairman Dave Poyser said: “I think it’s a godsend for parents to be able to be able to leave their kids and school holidays should be included.”

The planning committee agreed the equipment could stay and be used between 8am to 8pm on weekdays and from 9am to 6pm on Saturdays.