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London school’s sports facility plans rejected

Words: Laura Edgar
Khan rejects school's plans for sports hall / iStock-153690816

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has rejected Harrow School’s plans for a new sports facility because part of it would have been built on Metropolitan Open Land.

Harrow Council approved the scheme in September 2017.

According to the plans, the sports block would have been 7,300 square metres in size, 4,600 square metres built on the Metropolitan Open Land.

Although he supports the expansion of the school, Khan said it should not come at the expense of protecting open green spaces, “particularly when alternative options are available”.

The mayor’s Draft London Plan gives such land the same protection as green belt land.

The school did offer a ‘land swap’ that would have seen land freed up by demolition of existing buildings to compensate for the loss of Metropolitan Open Land, but this was not accepted.

Khan has invited the school to work with his planning team to develop a new application for a sports hall on the footprint of its existing site.

“Since becoming mayor, I have been clear that protecting London’s precious green spaces is one of my top priorities," he said.

“I absolutely support the school’s ambitions to expand its sporting facilities, and their plans to open them up to the local community for the benefit of people of all ages are to be commended.

“However, I’m clear that expansion of this kind must not encroach on open green space, which is one of the capital’s most important and cherished assets. Nor, in this case, is it necessary to do so, as other options are available.

“I hope the school will rethink its plans and come up with a scheme which allows them to provide a new facility for their pupils and the community without harming the area’s precious green spaces.”

Image credit | iStock