Khan blocks Har­row School sports hall

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Yo­hannes Lowe

HAR­ROW School has been drawn into a row with Sadiq Khan for block­ing its plans for a new sports hall on pro­tected green space.

The plans, which in­clude a sci­ence block, games area and car park, were ini­tially ac­cepted by Har­row coun­cil be­fore be­ing blocked by the Mayor of Lon­don.

Mr Khan halted the ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause two-thirds of the planned block would be on mostly un­de­vel­oped green space known as Met­ro­pol­i­tan Open Land (MOP).

Mr Khan said: “I am clear that ex­pan­sion of this kind must not en­croach on open green space, which is one of the cap­i­tal’s most im­por­tant and cher­ished as­sets. Nor, in this case, is it nec­es­sary to do so, as other op­tions are avail­able.”

In a state­ment, the school said it was “dis­ap­pointed” by the ac­tion as there is a “real need in the area” for the fa­cil­i­ties that “were pro­posed to be shared with the lo­cal Har­row com­mu­nity”.

The pro­pos­als have also been met by op­po­si­tion from en­vi­ron­men­tal groups who are con­cerned that the de­vel­op­ment would ruin the land­scape of the area.

Open Spa­ces So­ci­ety (OPS) and the Har­row Hill Trust are among the groups cam­paign­ing to pro­tect the pub­lic paths across the grounds.

A spokesman for the OPS said: “The im­pact of this de­vel­op­ment would ex­tend far be­yond the foot­print of the build­ings, and would have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the beauty and open­ness of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Open Land, which is a rare and vi­tal fea­ture of the his­toric set­ting of Har­row-on-the-Hill.”

The Mayor has in­vited Har­row School to work with his plan­ning team to de­velop a new ap­pli­ca­tion on the foot­print of its ex­ist­ing site.

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