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GLERA has been opposing plans from the City of London and Islington for the development of a sixty-six apartment tower block and a two-form entry primary school on the site currently occupied by Richard  Cloudesley School.

Objections to this scheme have focused on the density of the housing block and whether there is a need for a primary school in this part of the borough. Initial consultations closed mid-September for the planning stage.

GLERA is supporting alternative low-rise proposals for the site that include the same area for the school and include more social housing in an integrated scheme that does not breach planning policy. Look at them here.


On Monday 11 December our local MP, Mark Field, visited Golden Lane Estate.

He was taken on a walkabout by Tim Godsmark, GLERA Chair and a small group of residents - Anne Corbett, Charles Humphries and Emma Matthews.

Here is the subsequent correspondence:

From GLERA, 12 December:

Dear Abhi,

It was a great pleasure to meet you yesterday. I attach a letter which summarises our concerns regarding the proposed tower block development. We have kept t concise but if you do require any further background please let me know. Let me know if you require a paper copy or if anything is unclear.

The alternative low rise scheme which we believe is viable would:

  • Provide a greater number of social housing units (76 instead of 66)
  • Be fully planning policy compliant
  • Provide public open space
  • Be less expensive to build than a tower
  • Be socially more integrated with the estate and
  • Avoid the fire escape compromises of a single staircase tower

We would like to publish this letter on our website so that our members are kept informed. Please let me know if you would have any objection.

With best regards

Charles Humphries

Read attached letter here.

From Mark Field's Office, 18 December:

Good morning, Charles

Many thanks for forwarding me this letter.

I should like to confirm that Mark has today written to John Barradell to express the concerns of residents’ in regard to the standard of the proposals’ social housing provision, as well as the sense amongst the GLERA that locals have not been listened to, nor meaningfully involved in this process. Mark has also forwarded a copy of this letter to Catherine McGuinness.

A letter has also been sent to Emily Thornberry MP, notifying her of Mark’s stance and the action he is taking. He has suggested that they share a consistent position when engaging with the local authorities if representations are to be as effective as possible.

You are more than welcome to publish your letter on your website, as well as any response we receive from Mr Barradell.

Kind regards


Office of Mark Field MP



Following the recent submission of a new planning application by the two local authorities (download documents here), there is now a further three-week opportunity to comment on the proposals and suggest alternatives - deadline Thursday 16 November. You can read the GLERA sub-committee summary of the new plans here. 

Comments need to be submitted to both Boroughs. You can comment on the scheme to Islington here, and to the City here and also sign the petition against the proposals.

GLERA's seven main objections to the current proposals:

  1. The proposals are too dense for the available space. There is no green space and nowhere for children to play. An overcrowded site will not make for good homes, a successful school or a contented neighbourhood.

  2. The tower block will loom over the Estate and much of the neighbourhood blocking light and causing considerable damage to the setting of the Estate and adjacent conservation area.

  3. The school which was originally planned to accommodate 80 pupils will now host 458. This is not only a huge number for this site but the City of London Academy which will run the school has completely failed to show that there is a demand for so many new school places. And if the demand does exist in the north of Islington, a large number of pupils will have to be driven to Golden Lane with devastating effect on an already congested and polluted environment.

  4. The school hall which is separate from the school is designed for adult sports and private hire. Its size and positioning will block light to the allotment and requires the removal of mature trees with no space for adequate replacement. There will be smelly kitchens and noisy air conditioning plant adjacent to Basterfield House. It will also compete with the existing community centre currently being refurbished.

  5. The noise from the school playground will echo across the Estate.

  6. The tower block will have a blank and lifeless ground floor facade at street level giving nothing back to Golden Lane in terms of liveliness or interest.

  7. The proposal causes substantial harm to the setting of the Golden lane Estate and the St Luke’s Conservation Area. Golden Lane Estate is listed Grade 2 and Grade 2*. It is listed not only because it is architecturally distinguished but has also become an exceptional example of how to make public housing work for the community.

For more information

Detailed updates can be found in the forum where you can also add your own comments.

The COLPAI website sets out the proposals and the original plans can be downloaded here. Here is an independent analysis of the proposals from Alec Forshaw, who worked as a town planner, urban designer and conservation officer with the London Borough of Islington from 1975 to 2007.

Here is a link to the letter submitted by GLERA. In October GLERA met with Islington planners - read the highlights of their discussion here

The Golden Lane Estate RCS Facebook site provides comment on the application and summaries of recent discussions, the opengoldenlane blog covers many of the most important issues.

Watch the video disputing the noise report submitted as part of the original  planning application.

Watch the video that outlines the alternative schemes for the site that DON'T break planning policy

Further help with submission

If you are unsure of the process and would like some help please do email us at rcs.glera@gmail.com. You can also write a letter or email your comments to:

City of London Planning Department
The Department of the Built Environment
City of London
PO Box 270
London EC2P 2EJ

London Borough of Islington Planning Department
London Borough of Islington
222 Upper St
London N1 1XR

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