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Council ignores planning rules to grant permission to London school

Lambeth Council has issued a decision notice granting Listed Building Consent to a school in Streatham nine days before the official consultation period ended.

Grade-II listed Sunnyhill Primary School, which is owned by Lambeth Council, had applied to build an extension to the school's Victorian laundry building as part of plans to expand into a three-form entry primary school. The space will provide three classrooms, offices and a new sports and dining hall.

The consultation period was due to end today (22nd June) and the Victorian Society sent its letter of objection on 17th June, outlining concerns that the design of the new extension would damage the setting of the listed building.

This letter was disregarded as Listed Building Consent had already been granted four days earlier on 13th June.

'We were astonished to discover that a decision letter had already been issued before the consultation period closed', said Chris Costelloe, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'Lambeth Council has shown a shameful disregard for the planning process over its decision to break planning rules and ignore the official consultation period.'

Lambeth Council has told the Society that the decision will not be withdrawn. This leaves open the possibility of the decision being challenged by a Judicial Review.

'Lambeth Council is facing an acute shortage of school places and this expansion is clearly important, yet the project could now be delayed because the council chose to ignore the proper procedures.'

Local authorities have a legal responsibility to notify the Victorian Society of Listed Building Consent applications where there is an element of demolition. The Society must be given 28 days in which to provide its comments.

The Grade II-listed Sunnyhill Primary School was designed for the Schools Board for London by the architect T.J.Bailey and is an attractive and little-altered local landmark which opened in 1900.

Wednesday 22 June, 2011

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