Headteacher defends Old Vicarage plans

Heathfield House School to submit revised planning application for site

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The Headteacher of Heathfield House School has spoken out in defence of the planning application to convert the Old Vicarage into a private day school. 

Caroline Goodsman BSc(Hons) PGCE MA(Ed), whose parent comany Dynamite Educational Publishers submitted the plans, told chiswickw4.com "Heathfield House School, at Turnham Green Church Hall, has been described as a village school in the heart of Chiswick. The results of an inspection last week are outstanding. We have been searching for a second site for the last two years to ensure the continued growth of the older school years."

She believes that this project would give greater choice to parents who wish their children to attend an independent co-educational school up to the age of 11 stating "The Old Vicarage would provide an appropriate site for the continued growth of the school. This has been thoroughly checked against all governmental guidance. The Old Vicarage has the potential to create a most wonderful learning environment for the children entrusted into our care. Our project preserves the building appearance, layout and fabric."

The Old Vicarage was marketed for residential use by a Chiswick estate agent for over seven months and raised no interest. Heathfield House believe the site is likely to raise other commercial interests and be converted.

Ms Goodman said "We are mindful of the local residents’ concerns about the potential traffic impact this project may have. In light of this we have withdrawn our application and are considering a new proposal with reduced numbers of children together with a revised travel plan to ensure minimum effect on the local environment.

We remain convinced that an acceptable project can be worked out for the benefit of parents and the overall community in the Grove Park Area."

The school is planning to organise an open evening in the near future to present their revised proposals and discuss it with local residents.

Upon hearing that the original plans had been withdraw, Larry Miller, a local resident who has opposed the new school from the start, said "It's a big relief the application has been withdrawn. I've never seen a community come together this fast to protest a planning application. Over 200 people attended three public meetings in little over a month and 103 wrote formal objections to the plan. The problem people have is over the choice of site which we feel is totally inappropriate for a school of any size. People were very concerned it would cause gridlock in an already badly congested and dangerous area. In addition, the Old Vicarage is a great old family house, it should stay that way."

Heathfield House School is owned by Dynamite Educational Publishers, under whose name the application was submitted. The organisation is looking to develop their day nursery and school provision.  They currently offer day nursery care for children aged three months to five years and schooling for children aged four to seven.  The company has been actively seeking further premises over the past year to enable them to offer private schooling for children up to the age of 11. 



October 20, 2005