New school in shadow of Wembley Stadium signed off by Brent council despite air pollution concerns
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Plans for a new 690-pupil school in the shadow of Wembley Stadium moved a step closer after the designs were approved by Brent Council last night.
The planning committee comfortably passed the proposed layout and access plan for Ark Somerville, which will be built on the York House parking spaces in Empire Way.
Some concerns were raised over air quality – the new school will be near a main road – and issues surrounding the use of public transport.
But officers assured members, as well as prospective parents, that the application “would not have been brought forward if it wasn’t in an acceptable location”.
Cllr Lia Colacicco described the move towards this new school as “excellent” while Cllr Michael Maurice agreed that new facilities can only be a good thing.
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He said: “If not here, then where are we going to build it? We don’t have a lot of land in Brent.
“I think this is a very sensible application. Every planning application will be a compromise and I think this is a very good one.”
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The school will be run by Ark, the education charity which looks after the nearby Ark Academy Wembley and Ark Elvin Academy.
Its involvement, combined with funding secured from central government, means the school will not be a burden on the taxpayer.
As well as a main building of three to four storeys, the school, which will cater for children from nursery age to Year 6, will boast hardcourt and multi-use play areas.
Members of the public, while supporting the need for more school places, questioned whether building one in such a seemingly polluted area was wise.
But planning officers confirmed that an air quality assessment was carried out and the site was “deemed suitable”.
“It was very thoroughly tested,” said officer David Glover. “The primary classrooms are at the back of the site and mechanical ventilation will be used.”
As for transport, a travel plan has been put in place with staff and parents discouraged from driving to the site.
A period of grace will also be put in place at the nearby Red parking zone for those who do drive while the exact details are ironed out.