Builders’ lorries spark fears for Clerkenwell pupils’ safety
Parents protest over route that takes sorting site development traffic past school
25 May, 2018 — By Samantha Booth
Concerned parents and children at the Mount Pleasant site
PARENTS are urging a developer to halt plans that would route construction traffic from the controversial Mount Pleasant site along a road near their children’s school.
Gwen Lee, headteacher at Christopher Hatton Primary, said she is “extremely disappointed” Taylor Wimpey will be using a road – Mount Pleasant – less than 50 metres from the school entrance in Clerkenwell.
The company bought the six acres of land from Royal Mail last year for £193.5m after the then London Mayor Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead for a development of mainly luxury flats.
Ms Lee claims she was “assured” the access route would not be used.
Taylor Wimpey, however, maintains the Mount Pleasant route was always going to be used in the first stage of the redevelopment of the former sorting office site.
Ms Lee told the Tribune: “Of major concern is the movement of huge trucks in and out of the site with the consequent risk to safety, increased pollution and noise.
“Concerns over this access route were raised during public meetings and a number of people have confirmed they were told the Mount Pleasant route had been included in error.
Gwen Lee, headteacher at Christopher Hatton Primary School
“I was therefore extremely disappointed to find that, despite their assurances, Taylor Wimpey do intend to use this as a major access route for the site with 80 vehicle movements a day for up to a year.”
She added that the “school and the wider community” were happy to work with Taylor Wimpey to find ways to reduce noise and pollution.
“This could include development of green planting and installation of air filters in addition to route closures,” she said.
Kim Segal, mother of Christopher Hatton pupils Sebastian, 8, and Benjamin, 10, said: “Of course, I’m concerned for the children’s safety. It’s a big concern to me that there’s going to be so much more traffic here.”
The site has been wrapped in controversy since Mr Johnson took over the planning decision and agreed a 681-flat scheme, with just 163 “affordable” homes, overriding objections from Islington and Camden councils.
Taylor Wimpey Central London projects director Robert Crombie said: “The Mount Pleasant route was always planned to be used for the excavation period of phase one. We agreed to review this in light of local concerns raised. However, there is no viable alternative for this particular phase of works.
“Safety is of the upmost importance across all our sites and stringent measures are in place with regard to operating near an occupied school. All vehicles entering and exiting the site will be controlled and supervised, with particular attention afforded to peak school times, including opening and closing, when traffic levels will be limited to minimise disruption.
“We have extensive experience in delivering construction projects in close proximity to working schools.”