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Boys' versus girls' school £38 million build battle settled

PUBLISHED: 14:10 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:42 16 August 2010

A LONG-RUNNING High Court battle between two schools over a new £38 million building has come to an end. Langley Park boys and girls

A LONG-RUNNING High Court battle between two schools over a new £38 million building has come to an end.

Langley Park boys and girls schools have been at loggerheads over a state-of-the-art development to be built on the playing field of the boys' school in Hawksbrook Lane, Beckenham since 2006.

The girls' school, firmly against the proposals because they think it will affect their school, tried to overturn Bromley council's planning permission at the High Court but the judge ruled against them last Wednesday (25).

Headmaster of the boys' school, Rob Northcott, said: "I'm personally delighted that the court upheld the decision. I'm determined that everybody will benefit as much as possible from this superb new building and I don't just mean the children at this school.

"Our school is like an old carpet slipper at the moment. It is comfortable and relaxed but it is old and in need of repair. Some of our physics labs predate the labs which I learnt science in 35 years ago."

Mr Northcott insisted that the relationship between the two schools had not been soured. He said: "Langley Girls School is a fantastic school. We do lots of good work together and run joint projects which we will continue to do. This is just a case of the democratic process working itself out."

Secretary of the boys' school parents association, Polly Green, said: "We are so happy about it. Words cannot express how pleased we are.

"We don't understand why the girls' school is opposed to it as they will share the facilities, along with other schools in the borough. The plans are extraordinary, it is not a typical building at all. It will be fantastic."

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) provided the grant as part of its Building Schools for the Future programme.

It will fully replace the old facilities which were originally built to house 650 pupils, but which now cater for 1,600.

But Headmistress of Langley Park School for Girls, Jan Sage, fears the new building could have a detrimental effect on her school.

She said: "Our objection is to the proposed location of the new build, the proximity of which threatens the quiet order of our school, not to the new build itself which is much needed.

"Our view is that an alternative location nearer to the existing boys' school buildings would preserve both the necessary physical distance between the two schools and the openness of our own fairly compact site."

Bromley council granted permission for the development in August last year.

Children and Young People councillor, Ernest Noad, said: "This scheme is vital to maintain the high standards of teaching and learning at one of our highest achieving secondary schools in the borough by giving pupils and staff the modern buildings they deserve.

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