Thursday 17 November 2016

Last minute deferral of Harrow School's application to build on Metropolitan Open Land

At yesterday's Harrow Planning Committee it at first appeared that the Harrow School's Planning Application to build on Metropolitan Open Land had been successful.

The Committee was tied 3-3 on a motion refusing the planning application and then the Chair, Keith Ferry, used his casting vote against the motion.  The Committee had received a petition from Harrow Hill Trust of 1,500 signatories against the proposal and a letter from Gareth Thomas MP.

Then in a surprise move Labour councillor Barry Kendler, who had opposed aspects of this particular build but was not against building on Metropolitan Open Land as such, moved a motion to defer.

Kendler had not liked the design and raised issues including the colour scheme of bricks, style, position (ie red brick, not grey slabs, on to brown site or slightly moved to see more of skyline views, etc).  The chair had indicated that would be a matter of negotiation later and not part of this decision.  Cllr Kendler said that if resolution of these planning aspects were not included in the planning decision he was not certain he could rely on Harrow School's goodwill.  He moved the motion to defer and all six councillors voted for it with the Chair against.

The Harrow School representatives, who were by far the biggest group at the meeting, conferred outside and were described by one onlooker as 'looking very serious'.

An opponent of the scheme said after the meeting:
So we live to partly fight another day, especially if Sadiq Khan makes more of the fact that Metropolitan Open Land (ie like green belt) is still allowed to be exchanged for a piece of school land they don't want to use!  The large new build will certainly make a major difference to the historic view of Harrow Church/School. 
A spokesperson for Harrow Hill Trust said:
The Harrow Hill Trust was not happy with the content of the planning officer's report on the scheme and they will continue to fight the case and to promote a brownfield option instead. Interested parties can go to and click through to the petition where a wealth of information is provided including contact emails and phone numbers for the Labour Councillors who are all that is stopping this application from being refused. Lobbying would be appreciated.

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