WHPARA

The planning application number for the housing development is P2015/2913/FUL
Relevant documentation and reports can be found on the Documents page.
As you will know, Ashmount School moved premises in 2012 from its long-time home on Hornsey Lane to what was the Crouch Hill Recreation Centre site. The EFA deemed that half the site should remain in educational use and Bellevue, an educational trust, got the go ahead to develop the Northern half of the site, while the Southern part was allocated to Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association to develop a housing project, now known as Ashmount Close.

Below are key developments in the process, including comments and objections from local people. The full history of the site’s development can be seen on the Ashmount Site page, and matters relating to the new school on the School page.
24/10/15 - Planning Permission Granted
From an Ashmount Road resident:
The application was discussed by the Planning Committee on 19thy January 2016. A motion was passed to add conditions requiring further detailed modelling work to be conducted on the design of the Ashmount Road elevation and to require the contractors to engage with the school so that construction could go ahead and not affect the children’s learning. Planning permission was granted subject to the conditions set out in Appendix 1 of the officer report as amended by the addendum report and the conditions set out above, the wording of which was delegated to officers, plus the prior completion of a Deed of Planning Obligation. See meeting minutes.
24/10/15 - Local Objections
From an Ashmount Road resident:
Dear WHPARA,

I am contacting you as one of many residents deeply concerned about one of the largest developments in the Whitehall Park area, the development of the southern part of the Whitehall Park School site for housing (Ref. P2015/2913/FUL). There is a ground swell of concern that the current proposal is failing to meet Islington’s planning policies in a number of key respects and will result in a very poor scheme in relation to both future amenity for new residents as well as the developments impact on the conservation area.

Key issues can be summarised as:

A. Negative impact on the existing Conservation Area:

The frontage onto Ashmount Road does not positively respond to the existing buildings or street scene. Situated just two meters from the flank wall of No.1 Ashmount Road one might expect that a continuation of key architectural markers would be appropriate. However, design lines such as eves, door and window levels are completely at odds with existing. The ridge line is noticeably a full meter higher than that of No.1 and the mansard roof form of the proposed design is a notable absence in Ashmount Road. Amazingly, the frontage of the new development stands a meter forward of the established building line.

The combined effect of increased height, new building line and the bulky roof form is in stark contrast to existing properties which are highly delicately detailed with a number of architectural features (e.g. gabled bays with arched top windows, external window sills, castellated eaves, porches, use of brick patternation, ridge tiles and finials, tiled pathways, inclusion of white stonework/plaster). From this array of features the proposed frontage has settled on the triangular gable only with an otherwise entirely featureless flat frontage void of even window reveals or shelter at the front door. For your convenience, the proposed elevation is attached.

B. Loss of Protected Trees:

Accepting that the loss of a number of protected trees is necessary to build on the site, attempts to minimise tree loss are much appreciated. However, proper consideration has not been given to the trees to be retained, in particular those along the southern boundary. The Tree Survey completed in 2014 uses an earlier building layout sited further back from the boundary and existing tree line. Additionally, the survey is incomplete choosing not to illustrate the root protection area (RPA) for all retained TPO trees. There is significant concern that Block B foundations and drain runs will adversely impact on RPAs. Critically there seems no consideration for the impact of these large, mature trees on future residents. The Site Layout (see Planning Statement Appendix 1, pg.2) clearly shows their canopies to be touching windows in the new development, when in leaf they will overshadow gardens and interiors and the rooftop photovoltaic panels. It is thought highly likely that extreme pressure will be brought bear in the near future for the removal of these trees.

C. Future Amenity for New Residents:

This is a high density proposal that has not benefitted from the thorough grounding in good design required to make such a scheme work. The attached collective letter highlights many of the concerns we have for future residents in relation to the quality of the development. As a scheme estimating it will cater for 44 children there is insufficient outdoor amenity or play space. That which is provided is of very poor quality, often overshadowed by existing mature trees and/or the new buildings themselves. There is a 4-6 meter level change as the site slopes, yet no proposal as to how this aspect might be satisfactorily dealt with. This is also of significant concern in relation to the retained trees. It would not be possible to create level gardens without detrimental impacts upon existing trees.

You can see that there are very real concerns surrounding this planning application. The attached collective letter covering these at a high level was signed by 65 residents and has been sent to the planning officer, Sally Fraser, copying in ward councillors, planning committee members, and relevant others at Islington. We are currently preparing a more detailed letter delving into the many material planning issues arising, and hope to be able to follow up with that shortly. Individual letters of representation have also been submitted.

It is worrying that such a poor scheme has made it through the consultative pre-planning process and on into application stage in this form. One wonders if the views of Islington’s conservation and tree officers have been sought, and what exactly the response of the Design Review Panel was.

There is valid concern that this application clearly does not achieve Islington’s own planning policy objectives. There is also the very real risk that approving schemes for affordable housing that are sub-standard to the council’s own policies will set a dreadful precedent. As WHPARA has established a good working relationship with Islington’s Planning Department, can I ask for your help in getting heard? We are all very keen that this important development meets expectations that it comprise the best design possible to benefit both existing and new residents, adding positively to the neighbourhood.

With the next planning committee meeting scheduled for 17th November, and the one following on the 10th December there is not a lot of time. Any suggestions, advice, support or representation would be gratefully received.
24/10/15 - Planning Application Update
The planning application (P2015/2913/FUL) for a housing estate on the south portion of the former Ashmount site was submitted in August. Planning officers are at present meeting with the applicant to discuss outstanding issues to see whether it’s possible to consider it at the 10th December Committee meeting. Meanwhile, there have been local objections to the plans (see above).
20/4/15 - ISHA Housing Consultation
Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association
Final consultation exhibition at Caxton House
Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association, the developers of the old Ashmount Site, consulted with the local community in a series of exhibitions held at Caxton House. The pictures below are from the final exhibition on Monday 13th April. Click on images to enlarge.
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All the information on display should be on their website: www.isha-ashmountclose.com.
16/3/15 - ISHA Housing News
From Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association 16/3/15
Ashmount Close - 45 new homes for Islington
Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA) would like to update you on the proposals for 45 new homes on the part of the former Ashmount Primary School site on Hornsey Lane.

ISHA is a community and neighbourhood based housing organisation. We were delighted to be chosen by Islington Council as the preferred developer to bring forward much needed housing on the former primary school site.

Our proposals are still being developed. Currently we are proposing the following mix of homes on site:

  • 6 one-bed homes
  • 23 two-bed homes
  • 11 three-bed homes
  • 5 four-bed homes

The current proposals also include a range of tenures including 23 social rented homes, 14 shared ownership (part rent / part buy) properties and up to 8 properties for private sale - all built to London Plan standards and designed to respect the surrounding area.

We are now consulting with the local community and would like to invite you to one of our consultation exhibitions. Where you will be able to view our proposals in more detail, ask any questions you may have to the project team and provide your feedback on the emerging designs.

The events will be held in the cafeteria room at Caxton House Community Centre, 129 St John’s Way, London N19 3RQ on the following dates:

Wednesday 1 April, 4.30pm - 8pm
Wednesday 8 April, 4.30pm – 8pm
Monday 13 April, 4.30pm – 8pm

We hope you will be able to attend one of these exhibition events. In the meantime if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling on 020 7036 3520, or by emailing info@ISHA-AshmountClose.com.

You can also visit www.ISHA-AshmountClose.com for more information.

Copyright © 2015 Ashmount Close Consultation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you expressed or may have an interest in our proposals for housing on the former Ashmount Primary School site.
27/2/15 - Housing Development Update
From the Hillrise Ward Partnership Meeting held on 25/2/15
Dorothy Leng reports from the meeting:
There were two presentations on the plans so far for the site, one from Cllr Jim Murray and one from Abbas Raza, a representative of ISHA, the housing association that will be developing the site.

Key info:

The public consultation on designs for the site will take place between 16th March and 2nd April 2015, dates to be confirmed, comprising three presentations, most likely in the Hornsey Lane Estate Community Centre. The developers will be contacting houses on the streets next to the site (Ashmount, Whitehall Park, Gresley, Hornsey Lane) very soon with details, and the whole area will shortly be leafleted as well. Apologies for the tentative nature of this information; Abbas was keen to let people know even though the final details are still being worked on.

There will be 45 homes on the site with a range of tenures, some for sale and some ‘affordable’ (a mix of council and shared ownership), but they can’t yet confirm the split. Homes nearer to Gresley Road will be the lowest in height, which will rise towards the school end of the site, and entrances to all homes will be via Ashmount Road. They are committed to protecting ‘as many mature trees as they can’, though they say self-seeding trees (sycamores, apparently) are likely to be removed. All designs and materials will be of high quality and will respect the conservation area; the designs have been presented to the Design Panel, which vets these things. There will be four disabled parking places available to people on the site, but no other car parking permits will be granted unless to Islington tenants with a parking permit who have lived in the borough for 12 months and are being rehoused on site. Building cannot start until the new school is built so it’s likely to be late 2017 before anything happens.

Lots to iron out before building starts, so come along to a presentation and have your say. Check our website for the dates, which we will post as soon as we have them.
5/2/15 - The Future of the Site, from Islington Council
Received from Cllr David Poyser 5/2/15
The Future of the Former Ashmount Site
An Update from Hillrise Ward Councillors
After many years of uncertainty, there is a new Whitehall Park school underway running from Portakabins on the site of the former Ashmount school. If/when the new school reaches capacity, it will have a much smaller entry than the previous school on the site, and its use of space will be better (they hope to, for example, have an additional play area on part of a roof), so even allowing for play space above national and local guidelines, this still leaves space for much-needed housing on the rest of the site.

Islington has a huge need for more social housing – for example there are many young families desperate to move out of the ‘grandparents’ over-crowded home. Nearby residents (which could, for example, include people in overcrowded flats on the Hornsey Lane Estate) will get priority in the allocation of the social housing.

Local residents have asked us for information about the future of the site. Many decisions are yet to be made, but in answer to the questions, this is an update of the current situation. Up to around 50 new homes are likely to be built on the site, though the exact numbers and design will depend on what happens in terms of the new school.

Recent News

Last year, the owners of the new school looked at the cost of retaining the old school building and, like Islington’s experts before them, the cost of doing so was so prohibitive that the only way forward was to build a new school from scratch. The good news is the much-loved cockerel sculpture on the front of the school is incorporated in the plans for the new building. New plans have been displayed by the school after input from the Islington Design Review Panel, a group of local architects and experts who meet regularly to advise the Council Planning Team on design questions.

Just before Christmas, the attempts to judicially review the secretary of state’s decisions for the site were finally exhausted and (separately) the Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA) were appointed by the Council to make proposals for the remainder of the site. See Islington’s Executive report (pdf, 6.3MB) or download just the section on the Ashmount site (pdf, 541kB).

Housing Plans for the site

In terms of the ‘housing mix’ (social housing / private housing) and the numbers, the above link states “The revised housing proposals that are being worked up in more detail by ISHA for the retained portion of the site suggest that up to 51 new homes could be built on the site, subject to the necessary planning and other consents. The majority of these new homes would be affordable with a mix of homes for social rent and shared ownership. The anticipated capital receipt would be apportioned from their original offer of an 80% affordable housing scheme on the whole site” (Section 3.13).

ISHA are now working on their plans for housing on the site, and will shortly be consulting locally with residents about their proposed plans. They will be keen to come to meetings. Local residents will have opportunities to get involved both directly with ISHA and through the formal planning process when their planning application goes in.

It is possible that planning constraints around the need to balance the school site with the housing site may mean there are less than the proposed 51 new homes. As Islington’s Executive said, the plan is that at least 80% of these new homes will be ‘affordable’ (the planning policy requirement is a minimum of 50% affordable housing). They will be a mix of ‘social rent’ and ‘shared ownership’ - the council’s general policy is that around 70% of the affordable housing is for social rent, with the other 30% being shared ownership. However these proportions have not yet been exactly determined as this is dependent on finances, planning, design and so on. The new homes will not all be houses – it is likely there will be some houses and some flats.

Timetable

Given the planning procedure, although the school are understandably keen to create permanent buildings for their young children,  ISHA have not yet got a clear planning application timetable. We will let WHPARA know when they do, but we can say that it will not be at Islington Planning Committee before May 2015 due to all the pre-application steps they need to go through (this includes the resident consultation). Whilst they are separate applications, Islington’s Planning Department are aligning the timetables of the school and the housing as far as possible.

Trees on the site

Finally, the site has a number of trees (and there is wildlife associated with the trees), and residents have mentioned this. There are some strict planning policies around tree preservation. These involve evaluating individual trees on the site as to their conservation importance.  Planning consultations will make clear which trees, after the evaluation, are proposed for removal, and whether there any plans to replace them elsewhere in the site. For this reason, in the ‘pre-planning’ process for the school, maintaining trees where possible has been an important factor in the siting of the buildings. In overall terms, Islington is proud of its pioneering steps making us a ‘Green’ Borough, for example the 20 mph speed limit has now been copied by many other London Boroughs.

Ward Partnership meetings

We are very aware that the decision to move the school, and the proposals for the subsequent future of the site, have created a lot of local feeling, some of it very bitter. Whitehall Park is a wonderful area. We hope that now overall decisions are agreed by both central government and Islington, that the consultations about carrying out those decisions, will be conducted in an open, consultative and cordial way.

We will be returning to this issue in future ‘Ward Partnership’ meetings, where local residents (who have the time!) are encouraged to come and share their views on Ward issues. If you are too busy, the minutes go up on the web-site. We try to arrange speakers to help discussion. The dates (and, when they are ready, the agendas) are on the Islington web-site http://www.islington.gov.uk/involved/ward-partnerships/Pages/hillrise.aspx.

Councillor Joe Caluori, responsible for Education in Islington, came to the most recent meeting to update the people there on the plans for the site. He affirmed that although Whitehall Park, the new free school on the site, is not part of Islington Education Authority, we see it as part of the Islington ‘family of schools’ and we wish the school, and the Islington children attending it, all the best (just as a ‘by the way’, this year, Islington’s GCSE results rose to 34th in the country, compared with 2010 when the current administration took over when Islington schools ranked 143rd out of 152).  ISHA will also be invited to Ward Partnerships (and will also come to local resident meetings if you invite them). If you are able to come, we also had a presentation about TfL’s proposed changes to the Archway at our recent Ward Partnership meeting.

Keep in touch

Please do not hesitate to contact us on the former school site issue or any other issue. Our surgery details and emails are below, and we look forward to meeting those of you we have not already met, over the coming years.

Our Surgeries

Cllr Michelline Safi Ngongo. First Wednesday of the month at 6-7 pm at St Mary’s Church, Ashley Road, N19. michelline.ngongo@islington.gov.uk

Cllr David Poyser. Third Saturday of the month at 11.00 am at Hornsey Lane Community Centre, Hazelville Road, N19. Dave.poyser@islington.gov.uk

Cllr Marian Spall. Last Monday of the month at 6.00 pm at Caxton House, 129 St John’s Way, N19 3RQ. There is no surgery in August, December or on Bank Holidays. Marian.spall@islington.gov.uk

(No surgeries in August or on Bank Holidays)