Letter from the Headteacher, Tuesday 15th September 2020



Dear parent and friend of Abacus


Some news about the public hearing for the planning appeal


The public hearing of the appeal against Camden council’s decision to refuse planning permission to convert the former Hampstead Police Station on Rosslyn Hill into a permanent home for our school starts this morning – Tuesday 15th September. 


An independent planning inspector will be reviewing the case, and hearing evidence from technical witnesses as well as representatives of the broader community, including the school. Because of the social distancing requirements of COVID-19, the hearing cannot be held in an accessible local public venue as would normally be the case. It will instead be held online. You can find the arrangements for the hearing and all the inquiry documents and correspondence here: https://jll.box.com/v/hampsteadpolicestation.


Although it is still scheduled to run on 15th–18th and 22nd September, the Inspector has just requested some new information about the impact of some of the essential engineering work on the historical aspects of the building. As this request was unforeseen, Camden never requested any of it at any stage of the planning process to date, the information required is not readily available and requires a considerable amount of additional new work that no one anticipated completing at this stage of the project. It will involve detailed plans being prepared and then consulted on before the hearing can be reconvened. Unfortunately, this means the final decision cannot be made as soon as everyone would have liked. Instead it is now likely to be delayed until next spring. 


Although this is a disappointing development, pushing a resolution further into the future, what is being asked for is detail that would need to be produced at a later date in any case, but not usually until after planning permission is granted. The rest of the inquiry’s timetable for the hearing can still be proceeded with and all the other matters that were already due to be considered this week will be. 


The Inspector will make his detailed decision on how exactly he wishes to proceed later this morning and we will, of course, keep you posted on any other developments as they occur.


Best wishes,


Vicki Briody


Abacus Belsize Primary School