Demolition of Avonmore Primary School Proposed

Housing on site to help fund new school buildings

Demolition of Avonmore Primary School Proposed
Visualisation of the proposed scheme from the planning application

December 8, 2023

A West Kensington school deemed ‘not fit for purpose’ is being eyed up for redevelopment, as the local council looks to upgrade its facilities and build 91 homes on the site. If approved, Hammersmith and Fulham Council would pay for the works to Avonmore Primary School by the sale of half of the new properties, under a scheme designed to cover the shortfall caused by reduced central government funding.

The school, located on Avonmore Road near Olympia London, was mainly built in the 1950s intended to be a temporary measure. On a webpage detailing the redevelopment plans, the council describes the school as ‘not fit for purpose’, and in need of works to “support the borough’s ambition to give the children the best start in life”. A consultation exercise held in 2019 found issues such as poor acoustics in classrooms and an inadequate library space among the areas which required improvement.

The proposed plans would involve the destruction of the school’s three buildings, plus Gordon Cottage, a 19th century house which, while acknowledged as having some heritage value and currently in-use by the school, must also be removed to redevelop the site. In their place will be a revamped Avonmore Primary School, and two six-storey residential blocks, one either side.

The new school will be three storeys high, the planning documents detail, with a range of outdoor spaces available on the second and third floors, plus a playground at the ground level. Due to having a higher than average number of pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND), a series of intervention rooms are also among the designs to enable teaching away from the main classes, in addition to a sensory room. Certain areas will also be designated available for the community, such as the ground floor playground and the food technology classrooms, for use outside school hours.

Of the 91 flats proposed, 45 are to be ‘affordable’, with the council saying 60per cent will be let for social rent and the other 40per cent for shared ownership. The remaining 46 homes meanwhile will be sold on the private market, with the proceeds to be used to fund the project. This scheme, known as the Community Schools Programme, was approved by Cabinet in 2019, with Avonmore Primary School set to be one of the first in the borough to benefit.

Any disruption to the students is intended to be minimised by relocating them to the Queensmill School site on Mund Street during construction, a roughly 13-minute walk away.

Included in the submission is a quote from headteacher Maya Wittleton, in which she says she is ‘delighted’ to have the opportunity to “provide a new school that inspires creative thinking, one that reflects a calm and purposeful environment; and also gives us a light and spacious feel with all the flexible spaces that we need to provide a cutting edge and exciting curriculum that brings the outside in and the inside out”.

If approved, works are expected to begin in Spring 2025, and to be complete two years later. A decision will also be required from the Department of Education, with the council currently working on a separate application to submit to the government.

The proposed new Avonmore Primary School would be three storeys tall, with a six-storey housing block either side

Hammersmith and Fulham Council was approached for comment, though instead directed the Local Democracy Reporting Service to a webpage detailing the redevelopment plans.

Ben Lynch - Local Democracy Reporter