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Concern over plans to demolish two historic schools in north London

Two nineteenth century school buildings have been earmarked for demolition as part of plans to rebuild eight secondary schools in Islington.

The Victorian Society is now urging Islington council to rethink its unnecessarily destructive and unsustainable approach to the schools. Both buildings could and should be adapted to meet modern educational needs.

The Seacole Block at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in Kings Cross was the original Victorian Board School on the site. There was initially talk of keeping the block and adapting it but the planning application submitted to the council sees it demolished altogether.

In the west of the borough another much-loved historic school is threatened by plans to build a purpose built Pupil Referral Unit on Lough Road, overlooking Paradise Park. The site is currently home to an attractive, four-storey Victorian board school dating back to 1891.

The redevelopment of both sites forms part of the Islington's £140-million Building Schools for the Future programme, which aims to rebuild eight of the borough's ten secondary schools within five years.

'There are innovative and exciting ways in which historic schools can be adapted but Islington doesn't seem to have considered them,' said Heloise Brown, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'They have been too easily persuaded that the buildings as they stand now aren't suitable. But a huge amount can be done to modernise buildings like these and the end result is one which is valued by the community and has a link with the past.'

'Knocking down high quality, structurally-sound buildings in order to replace them with new-build is deeply unsustainable.'

The consultation period for the Lough Road site ends this week and both applications will be decided by the Planning Committee on 26th January.

Monday 4 January, 2010

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