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'Win-win situation' - plans for The Archer Academy to be built on Stanley Road playing fields site
Redundant playing fields and a former youth centre could become home to a new free school if plans are given the go-ahead next week.
The Archer Academy wants to build its non-denominational secondary school on the site of the former Herbert Wilmot Centre and Stanley Road playing fields in East Finchley.
Speaking to the Times Series Toby Blume, a governor of the school, said: “We are looking at how to provide facilities for the community on the playing fields, as well as protecting them as a resource for the local people.
“We think this is a win-win situation for the wider community. There’s a tremendous demand for school places and for the provision of sport in East Finchley – this could be the answer.”
Sport East Finchley (SEF) has been campaigning to save the Stanley Road playing fields for sport and recreation use for 12 years. The group has been working alongside The Archer Academy to make sure their dreams are finally realised.
Roger Chapman, chair of SEF as well as a governor of the new school, said: “I think this is going to be a really good thing for East Finchley.
“It’s been a long battle but I feel elated by what could possibly come out of these plans. The lack of education and sports facilities in East Finchley is a similar problem, but we can bring the two things together on one site.
"Hopefully the Herbert Wilmot Centre would be used for the school and the field for outdoor space as well as a sports hall and other community facilities."
The Archer Academy received two applications for every school space ahead of its very first year this September.
The school will teach its first 150 pupils at the Hampstead Garden Institute. However, this site is not big enough to house their entire school and governors have been working to find an alternative site.
Barnet Borough Council’s Cabinet Resources Committee will decide whether to approve the sale of the authority’s freehold for the Stanley Road playing fields and former Herbert Wilmot Centre at their next meeting on Monday, February 25. Council officers have recommended the sale is made to The Archer Academy.