Plans to demolish Edwardian Old School House to make way for flats in Finchley Church End

Times Series: Architect's plans for the Old School House in Victoria Avenue. Architect's plans for the Old School House in Victoria Avenue.

A former Edwardian school house could be demolished to make way for new flats if plans are given the go-ahead.

Grant Morgan, the owner of the Old School House, has submitted a planning application to Barnet Borough Council to build seven flats on the site in Victoria Avenue, Church End, Finchley.

The Old School House is the last remaining building from the former St Mary’s School complex, and is situated in the Church End conservation area.

Speaking at the Dollis Park & District Residents Association’s AGM, Mr Morgan explained how he bought the building 17 years ago, but that it is no longer fit for use.

He said: “I tried everything I could within my power to convert the Old School House but it simply wasn’t possible. I know it looks good on the outside but it’s just covering up the cracks.”

He listed numerous problems with the building including its central heating, windows, damp and condensation, concluding that “demolition was the only option”.

He promised the replacement building would be “beautiful and in keeping with the area and heritage”, but members of the residents association were not won-over.

Jestyn Phillips, said: “It’s a beautiful building in its context, and it would be an awful shame to lose it.”

Frank Kessler, an architectural historian and member of The Finchley Society, also criticised the plans.

Reading from a list of objections he sent to the council, he said: “The Old School House makes a positive contribution to the character of the conservation area in which it lies.

“Its Edwardian date tallies with surrounding buildings such as he St Margaret’s United Reformed Church, which has a datestone of 1907, the King Edward Hall and neighbouring houses and shops.

“Most of these other buildings were also added to the local list at the same time as The Old School House, a recognition of the contribution of the group as a whole to local character.”

Mr Kessler also said there is strong belief the building was designed by Percy Tubbs, a prominent local architect, although Mr Morgan denied there was any solid factual evidence to back this up.

The application will be considered by the council’s planning committee.

Comments (1)

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10:28am Sat 8 Feb 14

Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says...

This proposal is completely unacceptable, and must be opposed. The old School House is a central part of Church End history and was preserved from demolition at the time of the building of the Court House precisely because of that reason. Clearly there would be a large profit to make from this site were the historic building destroyed, but at what cost to Church End's own architectural heritage. If the owner really feels himself frustrated by the limitations of the building, then really one has to question why he bought it in the first place.
This proposal is completely unacceptable, and must be opposed. The old School House is a central part of Church End history and was preserved from demolition at the time of the building of the Court House precisely because of that reason. Clearly there would be a large profit to make from this site were the historic building destroyed, but at what cost to Church End's own architectural heritage. If the owner really feels himself frustrated by the limitations of the building, then really one has to question why he bought it in the first place. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog
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