Ealing council gave approval for the Durston House School controversial redevelopment of it’s sports ground at the planning meeting on the 15th January 2020. The approval is subject to a stage II approval by the Mayor and the Secretary of State.

Redevelopment of the Durston House School Sports Ground (Carlton Road), consisting of the demolition of an existing single-storey sports pavilion and 5 x single-storey storage structures, the removal of two floodlit hardstanding tennis courts and the construction of a part single, part two and part three-storey school (540 pupils in reception and years 1-8), with associated boundary treatment, playing field and soft and hard landscaping; redevelopment of the existing Durston House School buildings, comprising, the change of use of 12-14 Castlebar Road from education use (Class D1) to residential use (Class C3) to create eight self-contained units (7 x 1 bed and 1 x 2 bed) and three townhouses (2 x 2 bed and 1 x 3 bed), including demolition of single-storey garage and single-storey and three-storey rear extensions; the change of use of 26 Castlebar Road from education use (Class D1) to residential use (Class C3) to create five self-contained units (3 x 1 bed, 1 x 2 bed and 1 x 3 bed) and the change of use of 9 Longfield Road from education use (Class D1) to residential use (Class C3) to create one unit (1 x 5 bedroom).

Konnie Huq, of Blue Peter fame, representing Ealing’s Green Spaces made the following representations:

That the proposal did not meet with the terms of the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) London Plan or the Ealing Local Plan due to it proposing an unacceptable loss of green space, loss of trees and greenage and loss of biodiversity.

That the proposed developments and improvements to the school were considered manifestly excessive and were not required, explaining that the school was successful in meeting its aims in its Independent Schools Inspectorate report.That community use of the sports facilities was overstated, and that usage would be too limited. It was also noted that there was an objection from Sports England based on the net loss of playing field provision.

The Chair provided a summary, highlighting that the Committee needed to carefully balance the decision, noting that the Council was not adhering to its policy regarding green space, but that this needed to be balanced with the need for improved school facilities and child experience. It was also noted that there would still be additional scrutiny of the proposal at Stage Two GLA referral and Secretary of State referral. The Chair did note that the Committee had approved similar developments in the past, and that there was a need for school improvements in the borough.

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