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Carlton School needed for new homes influx

Education chiefs continue to look at option of closing down undersubscribed primary school

12 December, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

Kash Faruque with son Aidan

CAMPAIGNERS calling for a Kentish Town primary school to be kept open say new housing developments planned for the area will create new demand for places.

As the New Journal first revealed last month, the future of Carlton Primary School in Grafton Road is in doubt amid Camden’s boroughwide school admissions crisis.

A fall in applications has put a squeeze on funding. But up to 750 new homes could be created as part of designs to redevelop the Murphy’s building yards nearby.

And a development of up to 1,300 new homes is expected as part of a revamp of the industrial estate in Regis Road.

Kash Faruque from the Parents at Carlton Action Group, said: “The council are telling us it is a story of numbers but it doesn’t add up. There are plans to develop the area and build more homes. Won’t that bring more children?

“The worry is that the school building will be sold off and converted into luxury flats. We have housing and new developments, even in Agar Grove, but there is no infrastructure for the community.”

Parents have vowed to fight any attempt to close the 136-year-old school which has served generations of families in the Queen’s Crescent area.

With applications fall­ing, St Aloysius School in Somers Town is due to close for the final time next week after a decision was made earlier this year to shut it down.

Mr Faruque said: “If new housing hopes to bring in more families, why shut down schools? This is when elements of crime might be brought in. There needs to be a balance of an influx of people in the area and making the community a safer place to be.”

An online petition has garnered 1,500 signatures calling for the school to stay open. Its potential closure is not a done deal, and one possible way of staying open is to use parts of the site for rental income.

Council education chief Angela Mason and Town Hall leader Georgia Gould visited the school last week.

Cllr Mason said: “We need to look at all the possibilities for a sustainable future for all schools including Carlton. That is the endeavour the council is making.”

Applications for parents choosing primary school places for children close in January and Carlton is looking to boost its intake with new applications.

Meanwhile, young people at the school this week joined the campaign with parents calling for the school to stay open.

Amelia Islam, 11, is a pupil at Parliament Hill, who left Carlton last year. She said: “I was upset when I heard Carlton might close. The building would probably be turned into flats. It should be used as a school not flats.

“It would be really weird to walk past and not see a school anymore. I have made so many memories here.”

Sophie Ide, 11, who is now at Haverstock School, said: “Carlton is a happy place to be. The worry is that it would be turned into a block of flats. It would be sad not to see the school building with kids running around being happy and screaming and shouting.”

Cllr Gould made assurances that the building would not be converted into flats.

She said: “Our commitment is that the building will remain in use for the community. All of this is about protecting and supporting the school. The last thing we want to be doing is closing schools.

“We will be working with the school over the next couple of months to form a set of options.”

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