School's fears over tower block plans

The proposed development in Edgware Road

The proposed development in Edgware Road - Credit: Credit: Pegasus/Brent Council

A north London primary school has criticised plans to bulldoze a car park and replace it with a 19-storey tower block over concerns it will overlook its playground. 

Hundreds of staff and parents from Beis Yaakov Primary School, an Orthodox Jewish girls’ school in Edgware Road, submitted objections against the planned development at the site next door. 

As well as the objections, more than 100 letters of support for the development from neighbouring properties were submitted to the council.

Brent Council will assess plans to replace a car showroom and multi-storey car park with 165 flats and commercial space in a block up to 19 storeys high. 

The school argues this is too big and that some flats will overlook its nursery and rooftop playground areas. It said the building will be “overbearing” for some of its younger pupils, while the loss of daylight and sunlight could have a negative impact on students’ mental health. 

Staff are concerned that such a tall building, around six storeys higher than the school, will pose an increased “security risk” of antisemitic attacks. However, the Community Security Trust, a national charity that protects the Jewish community, assured the school the planned building would not pose this risk.

Other potential issues raised by the school include the impact on parking in the area, which it says is “already limited”, and an increase in traffic brought on by any new shops in the building. 

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Objections were sent in by the owners of the nearby Colindale Retail Park. They too criticised the height of the building and argued the wider site should be redeveloped as a whole rather than through “piecemeal applications” .

Several local residents responded negatively to the plans, suggesting that while Colindale needs to embrace regeneration, developments such as these are a step too far. They acknowledged that more tall buildings have been built in the area in recent years, but that doesn’t mean every large scheme should be approved. 

Brent Council’s planning officers have recommended that councillors approve the scheme, noting that the size of the building is “suitable” given the surrounding skyline. They acknowledged there will be some “harm” to the neighbouring school, which is a locally listed building, but that the benefits of the scheme outweigh this. 

The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted planning agent Pegasus for comment.