Neasden school rebuild sparks fears over privacy from residents

Householders claim property prices could fall

A multi million pound project to rebuild a secondary school will deprive family homes of their privacy and depress house prices angry residents have claimed.

Long awaited plans to overhaul Crest Academy in Crest Road, Neasden were unveiled last month, and include a four-storey pavilion with roof terrace and specialist computer suites.

But these have been met with fierce opposition from residents in Vincent Gardens, whose homes back on to the school, who say the building will be overbearing and intrude on their space.

Agie Plzyygylska, a mum-of-two from the street, said: “They are trying to build a five storey building which will overlook our gardens. At the moment we don’t see the school, but that will all change. We have been told it will bring the house prices down.”

“We are not against the building or the school, but we are against the scale of the building and lack of transparency.”

Ms Plzyygylska, who teaches at Emmanuel Primary School, West Hampstead, said that students at the school already climbed over the fence into her garden, and is fearful this will escalate.

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Ms Plzyygylska and her neighbours raised their concerns at a consultation day at the school, but that their concerns were ‘ignored’.

The mum-of-two added: “They weren’t receptive to our concerns and the architect was quite rude to us and said ‘I think your garden is big enough so you shouldn’t complain’.

“We aren’t being listened to.”

Residents are urging the school to revert to its initial 2005 plans, which were lower and placed in the centre of the playground.

Kath Keogh, also of Vincent Gardens, said: “The objections that we raise are deflected because the school says there is no other option because of cost.”

The rebuild had been thrown into doubt last summer after the government announced it was scrapping Building Schools for the Future (BSF), a national project to renovate every state secondary in the country.

But while Alperton, Copland, Queen’s Park Community School and Newman Catholic College (formerly Cardinal Hinsley) lost their funding, Crest’s went ahead.

Consultation on the rebuild will continue until June 16, and are subject to planning approval.

A Brent Council spokesman said: “The 2005 plans involved the compulsory purchase of land and so decided not to go ahead with it.

“We think that when the excellent facilities for the school and community are finished this development, if approved at planning, is going to help regenerate the area and will probably mean house prices rising.”