According to the local community Roupell Street, a quiet, Georgian residential street in the heart of Waterloo, was facing severe threat to its heritage and the environment if plans from a global, commercial language school go ahead, and after a long campaign, on November 28, the Planning Committee went against Officers’ recommendations and voted to refuse the proposals.
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Roupell Street is one of the few surviving examples of Georgian working class terraced housing in central London. In an area already surrounded by twenty first century architecture the integrity of the street which includes the Victorian school and the Peabody estate becomes a serious heritage issue. This conservation area is the setting for famous films and dramas including ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Call the Midwife’, and the residents are rallying together to fight a planning application from Education First language school.
The ‘school’, an international commercial business, has submitted a proposal to Lambeth Council for permission to build a two storey student canteen, demolishing a wall, destroying trees, removing views of the original Victorian parochial school and taking away the visual openness of its courtyard in a highly developed area. This is a listed building, key to a group by the neo-Gothic architect Edmund Woodthorpe. A shock planning application was lodged at the beginning of the holiday season, to the incredulity of residents and the many hundreds of commuters who walk through the Lambeth Estate on their way from Waterloo to the City.
EF Language Schools has over 500 schools in 50 countries and teaching space elsewhere in London. It registers up to 1,000 international students a week at its Roupell Street campus, several times the resident population of the area and with no community benefit. Concern has frequently been expressed about the over-crowding of a building designed as a primary school for a maximum of 200. Please support this local community and its visitors to protect Roupell Street, it’s heritage and environment.
The minutes of Lambeth Council Planning Committee for 28 November record that it was:
‘RESOLVED, by three votes to two… To REFUSE planning permission contrary to officers’ recommendations for reasons relating to the loss of openness, the loss of visual amenity, loss of trees, the impact on the setting of the Roupell Street Conservation Area and the less than substantial harm that is identified not being outweighed by the public benefits, and to delegate the detailed formulation of the reasons for refusal to the Interim Assistant Director of Planning and Development in consultation with the Chair…’