Construction of Romford’s first free school delayed for lack of parking

Planning permission has been delayed for The Concordia Academy, which REAch2 hopes to open by Septem

Planning permission has been delayed for The Concordia Academy, which REAch2 hopes to open by September. Credit: Blue Sky Architects - Credit: Archant

Romford’s first free school, due to open in September, has had planning permission for its new building delayed because plans lacked parking spaces.

REAch2 Schools took over from Oasis Academy in October to open the new school at the former Oldchurch Hospital site in Union Road.

The plan is for the existing building to be demolished and replaced by the Concordia Academy, a four-storey primary school taking 90 pupils in its first year.

A sports hall, outdoor play space and a cycle and parking area are also proposed.

By 2020, the three-form entry school should reach its full capacity and cater for 630 children aged between four and 11.

The existing building, dating from 1924, was the accommodation block for nurses working at Oldchurch Hospital.

It has been identified as a local heritage asset but is not a listed building.

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The Romford Civic Society opposed the demolition plans and demanded the building was renovated but the application report stated this would be inconvenient because of regulated classroom sizes.

The proposal was initially presented to Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who was in favour of the plans.

But Havering Council’s regulatory services committee is concerned about a lack of parking and drop-off spaces.

The application was recommended for approval but the decision has been delayed until the Education Funding Agency (EFA), which appointed a team to design the plans, commits to creating more parking spaces for staff and another drop-off point.

It was also asked to clarify where children would exercise and how they would get safely to the sports hall.

A spokeswoman for REAch2 said: “The December planning deferral was a disappointment but we continue to work with Havering and the Department for Education to establish the best sites, so that every child at Concordia has exceptional opportunities for learning.”