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Roupell Street: EF language school revives controversial plans

The EF language school in Roupell Street has revived its controversial plans for an extension to its Victorian building which objectors claim is out of keeping with the character of the street.

Roupell Street: EF language school revives controversial plans
Lambeth planners call it a "carefully considered contemporary intervention" but Kate Hoey MP has described EF's plans as "horrible and completely out of place"
Roupell Street: EF language school revives controversial plans
Five of the trees in this picture would be felled if the scheme gets the go-ahead from Lambeth Council
Roupell Street: EF language school revives controversial plans
Posters opposing the development can be seen in the windows of many of the houses in Roupell Street

The former St Andrew's and St John's School dates from 1868 and is a grade II listed building.

Since 1992 the building has been home to American firm EF's London international language centre.

The EF school has up to 850 students enrolled at peak times of year and can accommodate around 500 students at a time.

Two years ago EF sparked outrage among locals when it submitted a planning application to build a new structure facing Roupell Street, enclosing the courtyard which has been open since bomb damage in World War II.

The new block would house a cafeteria for students as well as new administrative space.

The scheme – which includes a brick lattice pattern – has been drawn up by Tony Fretton Architects.

EF argues that the form of its proposed extension merely replaces the infant school building which occupied the same site before the war.

In 2015 a petition against EF's plans attracted nearly 12,000 signatures and significant media attention, prompting EF to withdraw its application.

The school held further consultations with local residents in summer 2016, and now fresh plans have been submitted to Lambeth Council (application references 17/01398/FUL and 17/01399/LB).

The main changes since the previous application are the removal of the proposed basement and the planting of extra trees to offset the loss of five trees to be felled to make way for the new block.

In a pre-application response to EF's proposals, Lambeth planners wrote that "the brick design is an interesting concept which represents a carefully considered contemporary intervention into a highly sensitive site".

Local residents have set up a website at www.roupellstreet.com to highlight objections to EF's proposals.

"Together with local councillors I will oppose this horrible and completely out of place development," Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey tweeted earlier this month.

Roupell Street – with its rows of Georgian houses – is a much sought-after location for TV and movie filming.

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