The future of Avonmore Primary School

Architect impression illustration of the entrance for Avonmore Primary School

Image 2

Photos showing the current condition of the buildings at Avonmore Primary School

Planning application

A planning application for Avonmore Primary School has now been submitted.

To view and make any comments on the application please visit the planning search on our website and use reference code 2023/03051/FR3.

  • A message from Avonmore Primary School

    I’m so thrilled that Avonmore was chosen to be part of this project and for us I really feel that it couldn’t have come at a better time.

    We’ve got a very old building, it’s very difficult to upkeep and it truly is no longer fit for purpose. And that’s not just in terms of the site but also in the way that education has moved on. It is more important now than ever, that the space we work in can deliver a modern curriculum that all our children and families deserve.

    Avonmore Primary School is a vibrant, diverse and very special place at the heart of our community. We try and create a nurturing, inspiring environment in which children feel valued, motivated and happy. Our values were written by the whole school community - our staff members, our children, our families - and they underpin everything we do. That’s why we are very pleased to have been able to work so closely with the Council and the independent design team to develop new plans that really bring those values to life.

    I think what the work so far has led to is the creation of a new school that can inspire creative thinking; one that reflects a calm and purposeful environment; and also gives us a light and spacious feel with all the flexible spaces that we need to provide a cutting edge and exciting curriculum that brings the outside in and the inside out.

    I am also pleased that it gives us more space for community use, including affordable homes, again reflecting our part in the community. On top of all of that it also has a sustainable design element which is extremely important to us as a school and for our children.

    The Governors, our Executive Head Paul Cotter, and myself fully support all the different design elements that have been brought in that we believe will create an excellent environment for all our pupils going forward. The entire school is really excited to be part of this.

    Maya Wittleton - Head of School

Watch: Video of the Avonmore new designs

Take a virtual tour: Avonmore virtual tour

What it will look like: The future of Avonmore Primary School – picture gallery

Frequently asked questions:

Why is Avonmore Primary School being redeveloped?

Avonmore Primary School is not fit for purpose. Our children and staff deserve better and we are determined to provide that.

The current Avonmore school facilities are outdated and do not offer the best learning environment for pupils or staff. Re-providing a modern, fit for purpose school would support the borough’s ambition to give children the best start in life.

Traditional routes to redevelop schools are not available to us so we need to be flexible and innovative in our approach.

Since the Government's Building School for the Future programme was halted in 2010, financial investment in school upkeep across the country has been minimal. This means children in Hammersmith & Fulham community schools are being taught in buildings that are in poor condition and are no longer fit for purpose.

As there is no national programme to renew existing community schools, the council, in collaboration with head teachers and governing bodies across the borough, have identified schools that would benefit from the approach proposed by the Community Schools Programme.

Avonmore Primary School has been identified as one of the first schools which will benefit from the Community Schools Programme.

What is the Community Schools Programme?

It is a new initiative by the council, to improve school facilities and educational attainment by providing new high-quality, well-designed schools in the borough.

The Community Schools Programme will fund the building of new schools by building new homes on the site. Half of the new homes would be affordable homes for local people, the other half would be available to buy, which would fund the building of the new school. The council will always remain the freeholder of the entire site.

The proceeds raised by the sale of the new homes will fund the delivery of the school redevelopment. It is an innovative cross-subsidy investment model where the building of much needed new homes can also deliver a new school which is fit for the 21st century.

What are the objectives of the Community Schools Programme?

We want to improve educational outcomes for the borough’s children.

We want to support thriving communities by supporting schools and creating more affordable homes for local families.

We will use this innovative approach to meet the funding challenges facing the school community.

Are there no other funding resources available which could pay for a new school without housing having to be built?

We have explored funding opportunities with the Department for Education. However, there is limited funding available from the government to rebuild existing schools, which Hammersmith & Fulham have been unsuccessful in securing for rebuilding schools. This is why we have introduced an innovative new funding model through the establishment of the Community Schools Programme.  

Why can’t the neighbouring Olympia development Section 106 funds pay for the new school?

In some instances, the council can get funds through what is called a Section 106 Agreement from developments. Section 106 agreements are a legally binding planning obligation agreed as part of the granting of planning permission. The funding must be used to offset the impact of large-scale developments, and ensure necessary services and infrastructure are provided to support the new development.

None of these contributions at Olympia can be used for educational facilities as Olympia is primarily a commercial and retail, rather than residential, development. There are very strict rules around using S106 funds and the funding from Olympia cannot be used to replace an existing school building.

Why is the council selling off school land?

We are not selling off the land. The council will always remain the owner of the land. The council is the developer for this project and remains the freeholder of the entire site. While half of the new homes to be built will be available to buy on the open market, they will be sold as private leasehold properties.

Is it not possible for the existing school to be refurbished instead?

No. Given the age of the existing main school building (it was constructed in the 1950s), refurbishment would be expensive and there wouldn’t be any funding to do it. A refurbishment could not provide the educational facilities expected in a 21st century school.

Various module and prefabricated sections have been added to the main school building when additional space was needed. These cannot be brought up to an appropriate standard and the facilities they provide cannot be accommodated within the main school building due to space constraints. 

Why is it not being rebuilt as a two-form entry school?

There is no demand for Avonmore Primary School to be enlarged to provide a two-form entry school. The council’s Education Department have undertaken a thorough analysis of both the current and predicted future demand for school places in the borough. Currently there is a surplus of spaces at both Avonmore and other good or outstanding schools in the area.

Will the Department of Education be consulted?

Yes, the proposal to build the new school and homes can only go ahead if permission is given by the Department of Education. This is a separate application process to application for planning permission and the council are also currently working on this.

Have the school been involved in the design process and do they support the redevelopment?

Yes. Following the Cabinet decision in March 2019 to proceed with the Community Schools Programme, the council appointed an Independent Design Adviser to work with Avonmore’s senior leadership team, the governors, parents and pupils to prepare a detailed design brief for what they would want from the new school.

At the core of the school brief is that the development is to be led by the needs and aspirations of the school, with a nursery and enhanced arts and digital technology facilities. A full project design team were then appointed by the council towards the end of 2019. This included Walters & Cohen, an architectural practice which specialises in designing new schools.

Walters & Cohen have since worked with the Independent Design Advisor to hold regular design workshops with the school’s senior leadership team to co-produce how their new building is designed.

The school are very supportive of the current proposals, including the principle of locating new housing on the site.

Has the decision already been made to redevelop the site?

No. The proposals are going through the formal full planning application process and will need to secure planning consent before any work can start on the site.

The council’s Planning Department will be the statutory Local Planning Authority in this instance, and they will have a duty to ensure the proposals are properly assessed in relation to planning policy. They will remain impartial and will consider any application based on its own merits.

The council’s planning officers will recommend a decision on the planning application before it goes to the council’s Planning Committee for a final decision.

Should there be a successful planning determination, further approvals will be required from the Cabinet to approve future budgets and the procurement of a contractor.

How can I have a say on these proposals?

A planning application for Avonmore Primary School has now been submitted.

To view and make any comments on the application please visit the planning search on our website and use reference code 2023/03051/FR3.

If you have any questions for the project team please contact us through

What happens to the children while the new school is being built?

After discussions with the school, it was decided that to minimise disruption and to support educational continuity for the pupils, the best arrangement would be for the pupils to move ‘off-site’ during the construction period.

A number of different options were discussed and the former Queensmill School site on Mund Street has been identified as suitable temporary location.

It is approximately 13 minutes walk away from Avonmore Primary School and the pupils will move there for the duration of the build. View a Google Map showing Avonmore and Queensmill.

It is a purpose-built special school that was decommissioned in 2015. Most recently it has temporarily been used by Fulham Boys School while their new school was being constructed.

The council and the school both believe that there are many positives for the school moving to a different site during the construction. It should minimise disruption and guarantees all children and staff remain on the same site. It also means there is no need for the use of porta-cabins as classrooms or offices.

Is it practical for a school and new housing to be located together on the same site?

Yes, there are successful examples of this elsewhere in London and also within the borough (Ark Academy). A similar project in Hackney has won several awards: See Hackney new primary school and 333 Kingsland Road (

The scheme will be of the highest quality and by having a design team of different specialities we believe we are able to create an excellent new mixed development where both the school and residential buildings work in harmony with each other.

Would there be a loss of playground space?

Areas of the existing playground space are not currently well used or accessible to the children. The new proposals make maximum use of the site and the proposed playground space will be of a much higher quality with many new, diverse and enhanced features in line with the school’s curriculum and representing the school community.

In addition, as part of the new school design there is also the introduction of a new sports hall which will ensure the school can successfully deliver their sports focused curriculum. This space will also be available to use by the wider community outside of school hours

How would the school be kept secure?

The security of the school and its pupils is a priority and has been a key consideration and one of the fundamental design principles from the outset. The strategy to keep the residential and school buildings entirely separate will ensure this, with the school having its own secure and controlled entrance and exit points.

What would be done to minimise disruption for neighbouring residents during the construction?

It is inevitable that there will be some disruption during a project of this scale, and we apologise in advance. However, we will do everything we can to minimise inconvenience for residents during the demolition and construction phases of the project.

A detailed plan will be developed to minimise disruption during the construction period. This will include:

  • A Traffic Management Plan including an agreed route onto and out of the site and a time window for deliveries.
  • Standard hours of working on site will be enforced. Residents will be informed of any work due to take place outside these hours and the reasons why.
  • Equipment and machinery used on the site will be designed to be as quiet as possible and much of the plant will be fitted with mufflers/acoustic restrictors. Air quality and noise levels will be continuously monitored.
  • The appointed contractor will be required to be registered as a ‘Considerate Contractor’ and have a liaison officer whose role will be to keep local residents updated on progress and advise when there may be specific times of disruption.

Where would the new residents park? I am concerned about added congestion

Due to the proximity of existing public transport links, the development is proposed to be car-free. This is in line with the policies in the council’s Local Plan and the Mayor’s London Plan. 

The only car parking spaces to be provided in the immediate vicinity will be for the 10 per cent of accessible homes, which will be for dedicated Blue Badge holders. Otherwise, the remaining new homes (affordable and private sale), like with many recent schemes in the borough, will not be provided with a car parking space and will not be granted a parking permit for the local area. 

How would the wider community benefit from the proposal?

Improving schools and education benefits everybody. More affordable homes for local people also benefits the whole community. As well as providing a high-quality new school and affordable housing to help local families stay in the area. The intention is for the enhanced school facilities, such as the new sports hall, to be made available to the local community and community groups for use outside of school hours.

The public realm enhancements around the perimeter of the site will make the area more attractive for everyone who live or works in the area.

Why is Gordon Cottage proposed for removal?

Gordon Cottage is a two-storey house located on the site which was built in the 19th century. It has been identified as a locally listed ‘Building of Merit’. It was previously part of a terraced row of houses which over time have been demolished.

Gordon Cottage now stands alone. It is currently used by the school, but it does not suit their needs. None of the original internal features remain.

The council and the project team have carefully considered and reviewed the impact of both retaining and removing the cottage. Unfortunately, it is not possible to keep Gordon Cottage and meet the financial requirements needed to deliver a new school on the site. On balance, the design team also consider there is an opportunity to create a new residential building here which responds to the surrounding character of the area and the local mansion blocks.

How would the design respond to the site and the surrounding areas historic character?

The site is located within the Olympia and Avonmore Conservation Area. The site is adjacent to a number of other locally listed mansion blocks and St James Preparatory School.

The proposed design responds to the historic character and appearance of the neighbouring mansion blocks so that it is in-keeping with the surrounding area. This is achieved through the use of red brick, with white brick and precast concrete in a light colour highlighting certain details. The massing has been designed to respond to the late-Victorian mansion blocks in its immediate context, with the school building being stepped down to preserve the feeling of openness in Marcus Garvey Park.   

The design and scale of the new buildings has evolved so that it complements the neighbouring buildings and responds to the conservation area.

Why can’t more than 50% affordable housing be provided on the site?

These proposals are in line with H&F’s policy for 50 per cent affordable housing. This method of funding the programme is dependent on raising enough money from the sale of housing on the site to pay for the new school.

No revenue is raised from the new affordable housing, but the council recognise the pressing need for genuinely affordable housing across the borough. So, the programme will balance delivering a new school, and affordable housing. However, half of the new homes need to be provided for sale at market prices to fund the new school.

What is the definition of affordable housing?

Half of the homes in the new development will be affordable. Of these, 60% will be let for Social Rent, and 40% will be for Shared Ownership.

Social housing offers the lowest rent of all forms of affordable. More information on how social rents are calculated can be found here – Policy statement on rents for social housing - GOV.UK (

Shared ownership enables someone to get on the housing ladder, who wouldn’t be able to in the private market, through owning a portion of their home and paying a subsidised rent to the landlord on the remaining share. This can involve purchasing as little as 10 per cent of the home and then purchasing additional amounts (‘staircasing’) up to 100 per cent or selling that proportion at another time.

Why are some of the existing trees on the site proposed for removal?

The council recognise that the existing trees on the site are part of what makes Avonmore so special. So, we are working with our design team to retain as many of the existing healthy mature trees on site as possible.

Input from a specialist tree consultant has been sought and they have undertaken an assessment of the quality of all the trees on site. Special care has been taken to keep all of those trees which have been deemed to be of the highest quality.

There will be some loss of lower-quality trees, but these will be replaced by new planting and landscaping on site and additional enhancements to the public areas outside the school site such as Marcus Garvey Park. We will also be planting a new tree in the community for every new home built. Each new tree will offset one tonne of carbon and help H&F reach its goal of being the greenest borough in London.

Are trees with tree preservation orders (TPOs) being removed from the site?

There are no tree preservation orders on the trees on or immediately surrounding the site. The council recognise that the existing trees on the site are part of what makes Avonmore so special. So, we are working with our design team to retain as many of the existing healthy mature trees on site as possible.

What is the energy and sustainability strategy?

The council is committed to a greener and sustainable future and is seeking an on-site operational carbon reduction of 74 per cent. The development will also make a financial contribution to offset the remaining carbon, so it becomes a carbon-neutral development. This ambitious carbon reduction target be achieved by using a combination of more sustainable energy sources, including solar panels and air source heat pumps rather than traditional fossil-fuelled gas boilers etc.

The proposals will also incorporate a type of green roof that enables the self-seeding of native species on the roofs. There will also be blue roofs, which will capture rainwater and be recycled into planting and green spaces on site. 

How Avonmore will look in the future

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