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Cemetery remains sink plans for new Hackney school

The remains of Salvation Army founder William Booth have scuppered plans to build a four-storey Jewish boys school in north-east London.

The Stoke Newington scheme, by London-based architect Michael Ginn Associates, was turned down by Hackney council because of the 'significant impact' the proposed two-storey basement would have on the neighbouring Abney Park Cemetery.

Planners feared that the excavations could not only affect the adjacent graves, which include Booth's final resting place, but could also have an 'adverse relationship' on the nearby Dr Watts' Mound - a site of local historic interest.

According to a planning report, the council was particularly worried that the 'applicant [had] failed to satisfactorily alleviate a number of key concerns [including]- the risk associated with the excavation in regard to both human remains and the stability of the cemetery wall'.

The council received an incredible 1,798 representations from the public about the application, which was heard by the planning committee last week.

Other concerns ranged from 'unacceptable visual impact' on the Stoke Newington Conservation area and the overdevelopment of the site in 'regard to height, bulk and massing'.

by Richard Waite

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