“We support Abacus all the way – let’s make it happen”
We passionately want to see the outstanding educational opportunities Abacus offers brought closer to the community we were established to serve, breathing fresh life into the disused Hampstead Police Station. The continued search for an alternative site has left the school and its families, the vast majority of the community, the Department for Education and the professional planning team more convinced than ever that the former Police Station will be the perfect home for us.
Our extensive programme of community engagement and consultation has explained how Abacus Belsize will remain a single-form entry, 210-pupil school, allowing it to overcome the earlier planning objections. Many in the community have taken up the opportunity to contribute to the evolution of the new proposals over the past 18 months. Before Abacus existed, many young families in Belsize felt the need to move away to find a school place elsewhere in the borough or beyond. By successfully meeting the community’s need for a good local state education, Abacus is reversing historical trends and encouraging families to stay in Belsize, happy to raise their children in the safe, supportive and stable community it has become.
Abacus is not a new school. It is an exceptional and popular local school that very many families rely on. We’ve been in temporary accommodation since we opened more than six years ago. It is time that we removed the uncertainty for those many families who rely on us, the many more who hope to send their children here in the years to come, and enable the school to move to its permanent site. Failure will be a tragedy for the community and the school. It will also cause a considerable, unnecessary, headache for the council forced to find places for an entire school’s worth of children in a part of the borough where there are nowhere near enough spaces. The anticipated closure of St Aloysius will also have an impact on the availability of places across the borough and make it even harder for the Council to meet its needs.
But don’t take our word for it, this comment is typical of consultation responses:
“Our son has been a student at Abacus since reception. He is thriving academically, socially and emotionally. The school offer such fantastic support and consideration of the children. We would be gutted to see it prevented from moving to the police station. And it would be downright shameful for public and council to withhold support of such an outstanding school. Do not squander this opportunity to lay the foundation for a lifetime’s love of learning and achievement.”
Abacus Belsize Primary School will be an ideal and wholly appropriate occupant for the former Police Station, promising this characterful Grade II listed building as rich and exciting a future as its long and distinguished past. By the time it is ready to move to Rosslyn Hill, Abacus will be a single-form entry school full of Belsize children from its catchment – fully realising the purpose for which it was established and continuing to make a positive contribution to the wellbeing of the educational environment and the stability of communities in Camden.
We trust that good planning judgement and compassion will now enable us not only to establish a permanent home, but also to realise the considerable wider benefits of our proposals for the community and the local economy – we look forward to everyone’s good will and support.
Community support for Abacus
parents, residents and businesses
“We think the school is amazing and such an important school for Belsize Park and Hampstead. The location is perfect, easy to reach on foot ... we strongly recommend the police station for the new Abacus location.”
“Abacus is an outstanding school with passionate teachers and happy children. We don’t own a car and the building is a walking distance away for us.”
“I am really glad to hear that there is a green transport policy and that the school is promoting green options for transport. This is really important considering air quality and congestion. It is also a good example for the new generation. Thank you.”
“There are simply not enough school places within reasonable distance for Belsize Park residents. Abacus has been a godsend! It outrages me that this lovely building has been left vacant for so many years when an Outstanding school could be serving the community there. I 100% back Abacus in the old police station.”
“Abacus Belsize Primary is a wonderful school. The community will benefit from having this school in its local area. Most families walk or take public transport and will not add to traffic in the area. We love Abacus!”
“It is an outstanding school LITERALLY and would be a perfect choice as the occupants of the police station. It will bring great positivity to the community.”
“This school is much needed and this is the perfect location.”
“I support the scheme to bring this building back into public use, bringing wider benefits for the community and local economy, and hope you grant it the planning permission it deserves."
“Although my children attended New End and are now too old to benefit from Abacus, I am a member of the community who is highly in support of converting the old police station for the school – our family feels strongly that the state education system and children of Belsize should be supported by moving this outstanding school into our local area."
“So happy to see this ambitious, contextually sensitive and necessary conservation work being proposed. Having an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ school with a ‘no car’ policy and shared, accessible outside space will be a huge asset to the community and a wonderful re-use of this historic, public building. It will ensure the educational future of the area and relieve stress on over-subscribed nearby schools. I trust that local residents will gladly add their support!”
“Residents of the greater area deserve high quality state-funded primary school provision and we believe this is the best option. We believe this will enrich the community and we look much forward to it!”