Rejected: Plan to turn studios into new school

Council says no to Broadhurst Gardens proposal

Friday, 1st April — By Tom Foot

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AN attempt to transform a former historic recording studios and home of English National Opera into a private school has failed.

Cognita Schools Ltd, on behalf of North Bridge House, wanted to open a 300-pupil facility in Lilian Bayliss House, Broadhurst Gardens, South Hampstead.

North Bridge House said demand for its £6,850-a-term fees places were rocketing and it had outgrown sites in Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, and Canonbury, Islington.

The permitted development rights application was testing the water to see if an independent school could replace the ENO-run block, also a former home of Decca Records, without full planning permission.

It claimed the building had not been used as a public performance space before and had in the past been used in an educational training space.

But the Combined Residents Associations of South Hampstead (CRASH) had said: “This is untrue – members of the public were welcomed in to watch rehearsals, participate in workshops and its community choir and also attend concerts.”

The proposed school was due to be car free, but Janet Grauberg from Camden Lib Dems, said: “Experience with other local schools is that, even when Camden requires a new school to be ‘car free’, this is not enforced.”

Other objections had said it was not appropriate to have a school so close to the Railway pub.

Cognita had argued that the site could be classed as a school because it had trained musicians in the past, adding: “There is a need to provide for more pupil places to meet demand, particularly year 9 to 11 and 12 and 13, and with the constraints on the existing sites, the best way to meet this demand is through the expansion of the school by finding an additional site, within the core market area for the school.”

But Camden’s officers have refused the current application and said the property could not be classed as “educational.”

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