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The history of Brookmans Park School
by Lilian Caras - First published 1983 (Revised May 2000)

Chapter 4
Change of site for the new school

Meanwhile, another hitch had arisen. This concerned the site for the school. A report was placed before the Education (Finance & General Purposes) Committee of 25 October 1948 regarding the acquisition of the George's Wood Road site.

"Before negotiations for the purchase of this land could proceed very far it became evident that the proposed development in the Brookmans Park area was to be considerably restricted by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. Consultations took place with the Hatfield Rural District Council and the Ministry, and it was clear that the George's Wood Road site would, under the new town planning, be detached from the main building area and it was necessary to abandon that site and to select a new one that would be nearer to the existing houses. Having regard also to the severe limitations to the Hatfield Rural District Council's building proposals it was no longer necessary to make provision for two Primary Schools necessitating a site of some 7.25 acres as the population, as outlined by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning, would be covered by the erection of one combined J.M. & I. School with a 3.5 acre site. A suitable site has been selected and has been approved by the appropriate Authorities, and the authority of the Committee is now requested to proceed with its purchase". This was given.

The above discussion was similar to an earlier one held at the Mid-Herts Divisional Executive's Primary Committee of 5 October 1948. The Committee was "asked to consider a site for the primary school near the station since the Ministry of Town and Country Planning informed the committee that development in the Brookmans Park area was to be restricted. In view of this, the site arranged in George's Wood Road would be on the edge of the building area and some of the children would have a considerable distance to walk. The suggested site was a smaller one and was sufficient for a one form entry Junior Mixed and Infants School of 3.5 acres. The Committee recommended, "That the site in Bradmore Way, Brookmans Park of 3.5 acres should be acquired for a one form entry Junior Mixed & Infants School".

The reason for the change in the size of the proposed school and the site relates to the concurrent discussions regarding the future size of Brookmans Park itself. In 1938 the population of Brookmans Park was 2000. Professor Abercrombie's "Greater London Plan" proposed that the population should be restricted to 2500 in view of its position inside the 'Green Belt' around London. The Central Advisory Committee for London Regional Planning recommended that 4,000 was the optimum population. This was opposed to the Mid-West Herts Joint Planning Committee's 1946 suggestion of 7,500. The Development Plan for Education that was drawn up by Hertfordshire County Council Mid-Herts Divisional Executive had worked on a population projection of 6,000 as has been shown. The Development Plan was drawn up before the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 became law, but was not approved by the Ministry of Education until 30 June 1949. Hertfordshire County Council Town Planning Committee discussed the future population of Brookmans Park on 10 January 1947. The figure of 4,000 was accepted by Hatfield Rural District Council, thus a smaller primary school and a change of site were required. The population of Brookmans Park today is approximately 4,000 (based on the Electoral Roll 1981).

Despite such setbacks the fight for a new school (albeit smaller) continued. In February 1949 the Minister of Education asked Hertfordshire County Council to submit an Educational Building Programme for 1950-54. Hertfordshire County Council sent a list on 30 March 1949, which included Brookmans Park. A letter followed the list on 12 April 1949 from Hertfordshire County Council stating "we have today received information that a private school, Ithaca House, is closing down at the end of the Summer Term this year. This will mean that.33 more children require school accommodation. We shall possibly be able to make arrangements to crowd the children into Little Heath or make arrangements with North Mymms for one or two to go there".

This was indeed the case. The Mid-Herts Divisional Executive Primary Sub-Committee of 14 June 1949 was informed that as a result of the closure of Ithaca House School in July 1949 "several parents had applied for their children to attend County Council schools. In the main these children were going to attend Little Heath C.P. School. Arrangements were at present being made for transport by contract from the area of Little Heath school daily."

Chapter 5 - The cost of the school
Index - The history of Brookmans Park School

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