A 600-pupil sixth form proposed for Lambeth was given the go-ahead by four councillors to two at a planning committee meeting last night (December 3).  

The Department for Education (DfE) and Harris Federation applied to redevelop the site at 73 Kings Avenue London in Brixton Hill, which currently hosts a former Territorial Army (TA) centre.  

The two-storey mock-Victorian building, which is vacant but sometimes used for activities, will be demolished, while the academy will cover 6,027m² and be part three and four-storey in height.   

The academy will house 600 pupils aged 16 plus in years 12 and 13.  

Residents had criticised the “overwhelming” size of the proposed school, and the lack of infrastructure in place to accommodate it.  

They worried the volume of pupils would put the “already at capacity” bus route to Brixton under more strain.

Addressing the committee, Brixton Hill Councillor Maria Kay objected to the proposals on the grounds that site was too small for 600 pupils and said there was a lack of consultation with residents.  

She said she understood the “need for schools across Lambeth”, but added: “We need to question whether we need a new school when there are already two schools within a 100 metres of the proposed development site. 

“There are already a large number of pick-ups and drop offs – if this site is to be developed as a school it needs a more robust transport strategy to ensure the number of journeys taken by car are kept to an absolute minimum.” 

Cllr Kay said the amount of recreational space was also an issue.  

She said: “The school is proposed to serve 600 students yet there is next to no outdoor space for them.  

“There simply won’t be anywhere for any of the young people to go to during their breaktime and lunch time.” 

She added that there “simply has not been enough consultation with residents and community groups on these proposals”. 

Sam Hainey, who will be the executive principal for the academy, said the students “will not be out during the day” and that there was “sufficient outside space within the perimetres” of the building. 

The outdoor space proposed is the minimum requirement for a school of that kind. 

Mr Hainey told the committee the proposals were about “providing excellence in sixth form education and providing excellence in outcomes”.  

He said “in case any residents are worried” that the building “is going have extensive canteen facilities and study facilities so we’re not going to be allowing students in and out of their own free will. 

“We will be managing the curriculum, in terms of the entry and exit of students […] into blocks to make sure students are not coming into school en masse.” 

Mike Ebert, planning consultant for Kier construction, contracted by the DfE to build the scheme, told the committee that it was “clearly a scheme there is a need for”.  

He said: “The scheme is car free other than a couple on-site disabled spaces. 

“We’ve got full draft London Plan cycle provision, we’ve got a school travel plan, no teacher parking permits, a big bus contribution to TfL for increasing capacity for the 355 … and as of today an agreement to contribute to the healthy routes network.”