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£30m new wings for Parliament Hill and William Ellis schools finally get go-ahead

Rising costs led to smaller project

02 January, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

William Ellis School

PARLIAMENT Hill and William Ellis will get a massive £30million facelift after councillors approved a planning application to add new wings to the Highgate Road schools.

In 2014, a joint application submitted by the schools saw them win permission for a larger project. But before work could start in earnest the Town Hall, who are funding the project, were given significantly higher quotes for the work due to inflation in the construction industry.

The costs were pushed even higher when survey work revealed a Thames Water storm drain running beneath land earmarked for a new three-storey building. The new application, which cost £700,000 to draw up, will save up to £5m. It includes smaller buildings and refurbishing a dining hall.

At William Ellis, the school will enjoy a new extension and plans include glazing over a courtyard to create extra indoor space. Highgate ward Labour councillor Oliver Lewis told the meeting at the Town Hall on December 14 the project was an improvement on the scheme that already had planning permission and was vital to ensuring pupils at both schools and LaSwap continue to have the resources they need.

Cllr Lewis called on the council to work to mitigate issues raised by people living in Lissenden Gardens regarding overlooking and the bulky form of a new sports hall. Schools chief, Labour councillor Angela Mason, said that new science classrooms would help encourage female pupils at Parliament Hill school, while the new sixth-form centre for La Swap was crucial to ensure the college continues to attract students and could provide them with a first-class facility.

Councillors asked that plans could include extra greenery planted to offset the bulkiness of a new sports hall, which will have creepers and wall-climbers planted at the base of the buildings to ensure they would be softened. The application includes plans for long-term maintenance to ensure greenery thrives and covers the building.

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