Row between school and Holloway residents intensifies

The Friends of Mary Magdelene Gardens

The Friends of Mary Magdelene Gardens - Credit: Archant

An ongoing row between a school and residents raised its head again on Tuesday when a new development got the nod.

One of the proposed 'eco-pod' classrooms

One of the proposed 'eco-pod' classrooms - Credit: Archant

Mary Magdelene Academy, on Liverpool Road, Holloway, successfully got permission from an Islington Council planning committee to build a third outdoor classroom - known as a eco-pod - close to neighbouring Bride Street.

But people in the area are concerned the new block will increase the noise and light problems they already suffer from - although the school say this is not the case.

Lucy Puglia, 58, who lives on Bride Street and suffers from severe migraines, said: “We have noise, screaming people coming and going all the time, light shining straight into our house even in the day.

“To be honest this is really making me ill, with my health.

“I have been dreading this decision, it will make things much worse and it will be impossible to live here,

“I am angry and upset. I wish the council had backed us up.

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“The garden used to be my sanctuary, but now I can’t go out.”

Previous spats have erupted between the academy and people in the area over changing a former coroners court, in nearby Mary Magdelene Gardens, into a special school, with fears the development could put trees and park users in danger.

Val Hammond, from Friends of St Mary Magdalene Gardens, said: “It feels like they are cramming in another classroom where there isn’t space.

“Now people in Bride Street will have the same problem others have.

“We will keep fighting, but the academy is a powerful organisation.”

Despite 38 letters of objection and ten people turning up to Tuesday’s meeting to complain, the committee gave the plan the green light after a hung vote, which left the chair with the final decision.

Paul Hollingum, executive director of the academy, said: “These new buildings will not increase light or noise.

“That will be quieter than the main building, because the windows do not need to be opened for air flow, and the height means no light should escape.

“There are sixth form classes and will not increase the number of students.

“I am aware of people’s concerns and I sympathise, but we are only operating like any other school. We try and address specific issues, but what we can’t do is move the academy somewhere else, which I think is what some people want.”