The Evening Standard is reporting that a row has broken out over plans to expand a French school in Marylebone to cope with the huge influx of wealthy expats coming to London.
The £24,000-a-year independent L’Ecole Internationale Franco-Anglaise (Eifa) has proposed to expand into the Grade II listed 10 Duchess Street within the Harley Street Conservation Area.
It runs an oversubscribed primary school in nearby Portland Place and wants to set up a 175-pupil secondary school to cope with the high demand for French-speaking school places.
The application is supported by the French Embassy and Quebec Government Office in London, which both say demand is being driven by the French influx to “France’s sixth-biggest city”.
But some residents oppose the plans, saying pupils will cause “pandemonium”. The objectors, many of whom live in an adjacent mansion block in Mansfield Street where two-bedroom flats cost more than £3 million, have raised concerns from school-run traffic to smells from the school’s kitchen.
One of 40 residents who objected to Westminster council wrote: “It is unrealistic to imply that there will only be quiet, polite and litter-free children. From personal experience I can assure you that Anglo-French children are no more likely than any other group of similar age to be paragons of virtue…”
The application, which has been recommended for permission by council officers, is due to be considered by Westminster’s planning committee next Tuesday.
This is the second story this week where residents are opposing plans for a new or expanding school (not to mention the one where they are protesting noise from a playground) – no doubt a taste of the school nimbyism we will be seeing all too frequently as the battle to create enough places escalates.
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