BY JAMES TWOMEY
A school may have to kick out 50 students after a bust-up with residents over a plan to expand.
The Streatham and Clapham High School in Abbotswood Road, Streatham has been locked in a dispute with neighbours of the school over its plans to increase the size of the senior site and the amount of students it can hold from 505 to 650.
The school is already 50 students over capacity and, if the planning application it has lodged with Lambeth council is rejected, those students could be without a school.
The earliest possible date for the Lambeth planning committee to meet and decide the application is September 24 which risks the students leaving or moving to another site at least a month after the school year begins.
The residents are concerned about the school winning further expansion applications if the current one is granted, and worry that proper traffic rules are not in place to combat the extra cars on the road.
One resident who wished not to be named said: “Cars can’t pass on the road at the best of times, and during the school run it’s very difficult. Residents aren’t happy with the extra building until the transport is sorted out.
“No-one, not even the most die-hard anti-school objector, wants to see 50 12-year-old girls chucked out of school.
“There’s obviously the potential for a fair degree of disruption to their education if the expansion is knocked back by the council.
“I am very reluctant to draw attention to myself either from the school or the Girls’ School Day Trust legal team, given their track record of interactions with locals to date.”
Another resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “The local residents have genuine concerns but there is a climate of fear among us.”
A spokeswoman for Streatham and Clapham High School said: “Last year (2018/19) was a bulge year.
“Like many schools in London, we had a higher rate of acceptances than in previous years. Our senior site can easily accommodate these girls.
“Our planning application aims to allow for a gradual increase in pupil numbers over the next few years.
“Our comprehensive transport assessment clearly shows a minimal increase in traffic locally.
“We have engaged and consulted with local residents, and always strive to foster good relations with our neighbours.”
A Lambeth council spokesman said: “A planning application has been made by the school to increase the pupil numbers at the site from 505 to 650 pupils. This has been supported by technical reports covering transport, noise and air quality.
“Lambeth council is still considering the application which will be determined in due course.
Residents get the opportunity to comment fully as part of that process.”