Lea Bridge Road schools
Prospective parents have been told by the Barclay Academy (Lion Academy Trust) that local planning issues are stalling the September 2017 opening of its proposed secondary school (which would have been in temporary buildings) in Lea Bridge Road. Apparently the DfE, who bought the land from Thames Water only in May this year, have had to backpedal on these proposals. No formal planning applications have yet been made to Waltham Forest Council.
There is no news yet about any changes to the outline proposals for a primary school made by Athena (Reach2 Academy) on the same site.
A campaign "NO to Academy CHAOS in Lea Bridge Road" involving people from Waltham Forest and Hackney has been lobbying against the schools, especially academy and free schools, being sited on the Metropolitan Open Land. In addition to the unsuitability of a school for ensuring public access to MOL, there would be major issues of impact on local habitats and adjacent nature reserves, major issues of pollution for all users of the schools, and massive impacts on traffic in the Lea Bridge Road.
Waltham Forest Council have stated that the ex-Thames Water site is not in the area where school places are most needed. It remains for the Council to publicly identify other locations in Waltham Forest where a secondary school could be built. Waltham Forest Council states that there are already adequate possibilities for primary school places by means of expanding existing schools.
Although Hackney is said to be in need of primary school places in the eastern part of the Borough, only a handful of parents turned up for the Athena Open Day held at Pembury Community Centre.
We need to keep a close eye on the situation, since this is only a postponement. The overall aim of keeping MOL open to public access is of prime importance.