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From gas to class: Kingston's gasworks "could make ideal primary school site"
7:00am Friday 30th August 2013 in News
A colourful playground and classrooms could soon replace abandoned gas holders in the heart of Kingston within the next few years. Kingston Council is in the early stages of putting together a planning brief for a new two-form entry primary school in Seven Kings Way.
The announcement comes months after the borough secured approval for a new primary school at the border with Merton and another for a secondary school at the North Kingston Centre as soon as funding is available.
Councillor David Ryder-Mills, lead member for schools and continuing education, said: “It seems to me that would be quite an ideal place. There is a planning brief developed for where the gas holders are.
“This would involve some land swapping between owners and it would have to go up to proper consultation on whether it is a good idea or not but it is a site which is really quite sought after.”
He said the area was attractive because it was near the town centre and, with the 300 plus flats set to crop up by the riverside, it could tackle school place shortages in north Kingston.
But he said: “It does have drawbacks. It would have to be redesigned because it is bordered by busy roads, so a lot of thought would have to go into the planning.
“I imagine if anyone with a free school proposal is interested, I am hopeful it could be analysed quite quickly.”
Jennifer Butterworth, chairman of the Kingston Society, said: “One of our members finds them [gas containers] very impressive, but I think he may be in the very small minority. They have no purpose. I see no case for not removing them.
“A school seems – knowing the shortage – very helpful.”
Tessa Kind, from the Mill Street Residents’ Association, said: “I thought they were building flats there? I would be all in favour of a new primary school.
“I would be interested to see what catchment area it would cover.
“Our local school St Johns is a one form entry and most years it is oversubscribed.”
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