New schools on hospital site

One Degree Academy (left) and Wren Academy (right)
One Degree Academy (left) and Wren Academy (right)

Plans for two schools on Chase Farm Hospital site approved, report James Cracknell and Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Two new schools have been granted planning permission on the former Chase Farm Hospital site, while a decision on hundreds of new flats there has been postponed.

At a meeting of the planning committee this week, a two-storey primary school and four-storey secondary school for the site were approved. They will provide teaching facilities for 1,260 pupils and around 120 staff.

The new primary school building is for One Degree Academy, an existing school in Ponders End that wants to relocate, while the planned secondary is Wren Academy, a new school that opened in September but has been forced to teach its first pupils from a site it’s currently sharing with Nightingale Academy, in Edmonton.

Enfield Council planning officers recommended the new school buildings in The Ridgeway for approval, highlighting “insufficient provision” for education in the borough – particularly for secondary places in north-west Enfield.

During the meeting, a resident objected to the proposals, raising concerns over increased traffic and the potential for more parking problems in nearby streets. But speaking in support was Gavin Smith, principal of Wren Academy, who said: “Enfield children deserve nothing less than the very best opportunities, buildings, facilities and staff in these schools.”

Aidan Sadgrove, principal at One Degree Academy, added: “Every day we try and change the life outcomes of our children through both great teaching and learning – but also through an inclusive culture, and encouraging our children to aim higher, do better and go further.”

After councillors raised concerns about traffic and parking, officers agreed to attach a condition to for the schools’ starting and finishing times to be staggered, reducing potential impact on neighbours. Officers also assured members of the committee controls would be put in place to stop people parking on the public highway.

At the end of the debate, councillors voted unanimously in favour of the plans. The new permanent school buildings are planned to open in September 2022, but new temporary buildings that would allow both schools to begin teaching next year at the Chase Farm site, bought by the government in 2017, are being proposed in a separate planning application.

Meanwhile, at the same meeting, councillors ran out of time to consider an application for between 350 and 375 homes in a series of six-storey blocks on the same former hospital site. The new Chase Farm Hospital building was opened in 2018 and part of the original plan, approved in 2015, included 500 homes in blocks up to five storeys tall, in place of the demolished hospital buildings, but so far only 138 have been built.

Because space is now needed for the new secondary school, the government claims the remaining homes need to be built in taller, six-storey buildings, so they take up less space. It would include 20% ‘affordable’ housing, below the council’s 40% target, but council planning chiefs say the redevelopment would cause “limited harm” and represents an “appropriate development response”.

For more information on the plans:
Visit chasefarmdevelopment.co.uk