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Plans to build one of tallest schools in the world in Bromley quashed

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 February 2019

How the school would have looked. Photo: London South East Colleges

How the school would have looked. Photo: London South East Colleges

Archant

Plans for what would have been one of the tallest schools in the world have been quashed by the government following a planning row last year.

London South East Academies Trust (LSEAT) proposed a 10-storey academy with no play area or on-site parking at land on the corner of Westmoreland Road and Masons Hill in Bromley.

The trust appealed against Bromley Council’s rejection of the Science Health and Wellbeing Futures Academy, taking the row to a planning inquiry in November.

The trust’s school would have loomed 119ft over gardens of nearby homes – making it the tallest school in Britain, and “probably one of the tallest in the world”.

It would have been slightly shorter than the great pyramid at Giza and the Washington Monument.

Campaigners – and some local councillors – said a high-rise school with no outdoor play space would be unpopular with parents.

The trust said the pressing need for school places outweighed adverse effects it would have on the area.

But planning inspector Brendan Lyons has dismissed the trust’s appeal saying: “I have concluded that the proposal would have significant adverse impacts on the character and appearance of the area and on neighbours’ living conditions.”

The council argued the school was unsuitable because of its character, impact on residents and concerns over highway safety.

More than 200 people objected to the original proposals and neighbours and campaigners turned out during November’s inquiry to argue against the high-rise school which would have enough spaces for 1,260 pupils.

Councillor Alexa Michael, chairman of the council’s development control committee, said: “The appeal outcome has vindicated the DCC’s decision that the site would have been unsuitable for a six-form-entry school in terms of the height, bulk and massing proposed and the impact on neighbouring properties. Fortunately, commonsense has prevailed.”
Bromley Town councillor Nicola Dykes said she was delighted residents’ concerns had been heard.
She said: “Whilst school places are important it should not come at the expense of neighbouring residents whose amenity would have been ruined by this 10-storey building.”
A spokesman for London & South East Education Group, which LSEAT is part of, said: “There is no disputing the need for more school places in Bromley, but we fully respect the planning inspectorate’s decision that a more suitable site needs to be found.
“We will continue to work with EFSA and the local authority to help address the growing demand for school places – with our aim to create additional high-quality secondary provision for young people in the borough.”

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