Cental Foundation Girls School – demolition of listed buildings

I doubt if any Mile End resident would argue with the need for more schools (especially if you have children growing up here!) but this…..

Proposed Central Foundation Girls School extension

As part of the redevelopment of the Central Foundation Girls School (c. 1897)* on Bow Road, it is currently being proposed by the council that a locally listed building, called by the council “St Anthony’s House” or No. 25 Bow Road, be demolished. The building was originally one of the grand houses of Bow Road and as such has merited local listing, designated ‘LST 125′. It makes a positive contribution to the Tredegar Square Conservation Area and especially to the houses next to it on Bow Road in Coborn Terrace, and also to the houses on Coborn Street as they share the same architectural features of yellow stock bricks, arch-head sash windows, slate roofs and chimneys, some of which also feature on the Listed School. There is no date given for the building in the council’s architects’ ‘Heritage Impact Asessment’ or any explanation as to why it is called St Anthony’s. It also mistakenly (I believe, in looking at old maps) declares that its heritage value is lessened by it being part of a now lost “pair”. It is apparently therefore a ‘”neutral element at best” in the Tredegar Square Conservation Area’ and its “architectural merit is questionable.”

An 1862 map actually has three houses there on Bow Road with the same front gardens as Coborn Terrace and it was actually called Coborn Place. A later post-war map does show a remaining pair of houses, as part of the school grounds of the ‘new’ school, built on Bow Road in 1897, so this perhaps explains why they say “pair” – however to leave out the true history and relevance and therefore contribution to the Conservation Area seems very unfair. It also seems negatively skewed in favour of demolition with such negative comments and lack of proper assessment of the buildings genuine heritage.

The houses of Coborn Terrace on Bow Road and the ones on Coborn Street are all Listed Buildings (nationally listed, Grade II) while “St Anthony’s”/25 Bow Road is Locally Listed, perhaps because it is no longer a residence and was altered for use as a school building currently “teacher training facilities and research centre.” The 1897 School on Bow Road is also a Listed Building and is a companion building to the famous (formerly boys’ ‘Coopers’) School on Morgan Street, which (it seems) will be sold off when the new development goes up and the campus will then be on Bow Road, Coborn Street and Harley Grove. We personally do not have any experience of the problems at the Central Foundation Girls School that have necessitated this redevelopment plan. We do however appreciate that schools in Tower Hamlets are over subscribed. Expansion would also follow if the school leaves the building on Morgan Street as it wants to have a single campus, however, this should not mean the demolition of a heritage building which is a surviving example of original Mile End Old Town; the “ribbon” development of historic Bow Road; probably dates back to
the 1820’s and is in the Tredegar Square Conservation Area.

Here are links to the application(s) which have various numbers for various consents; demolition in a conservation area and demolition of a Locally Listed building needing different consents. Most of the documents seem to have been filed with PA/10/2286, which is general application for the whole scheme but PA/10/2288 and PA/10/2289 are also relevant:

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