NO SOONER has the battle to save the Kingsland fire station been lost than a De Beauvoir free school announces that it wants the site.
The station, which opened in the 1890s, was one of 12 closed earlier this year 2014 under a London Fire Brigade plan approved by the capital’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, to save money. Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe was among protesters who claimed the closure would reduce response time.
Seven councils, including Hackney, took the campaign to the High Court but failed to save the stations.
Now Hackney New School (HNS), the secondary opened last September, 2013, has said it wants to open a primary school (HNPS) on the 333 Kingsland Road E8 4DR site in September 2015 and the Education Department this month approved.
HNS hopes to submit a proposal “that is attractive” to the site owner, the London Fire Brigade, “while representing value for money for HNPS and the Department for Education”.
Mark Lushington, of Hackney National Union of Teachers, expressed disdain, with a huge dose of hyperbole. “My immediate – and thoroughly improper response – was the wish that the free-school site burn to the ground due to the ‘unforeseeable’ consequence of an increased response time, due to the closures,” he said, using great irony.
“If free-schoolers want to open chic niches for their children, the least they can do is not pay for them with public money.”
“They join a family of schools with high aspirations for all of Hackney’s young people.”
The Kingsland fire station is being widely advertised, although no price is mentioned. A film-production company is among several that has shown interest in the site, which is well placed for public transport and close to the City.
The Fire Brigades Union said it had long suspected that the closures were more to do with property values than with providing the best service.
David Altheer 230614
* Backstory: School gets its first site
* Hackney New School, Downham Road, De Beauvoir N1 5AA (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.