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walters & cohen wins planning for twyford abbey

Walters & Cohen’s proposal for a new secondary school at Twyford Abbey in west London has been awarded planning and listed building consent. 

Twyford Abbey is a Grade II listed Gothic-style mansion and independently listed walled garden designed in the early 19th century by architect William Atkinson. This is a richly historic pocket of west London: there is evidence that the site has been occupied since the Doomsday Book and the adjacent Church of St Mary, which once served the mediaeval manor house, dates back to the 12th century.

Bound by the North Circular Road and set in open parkland and mature woodland near Hanger Lane station, the Abbey has stood derelict since 1988. Following numerous planning refusals and changes of ownership, by 2015 the Abbey was in a serious state of disrepair and was included on the Heritage at Risk Register by Historic England. 

In autumn 2016, Walters & Cohen won an invited competition organised by the Abbey’s new owners to design a secondary school on the site, and in May 2017, planning and listed building consent applications were submitted to Ealing Council. After a positive outcome at committee, the Greater London Authority gave Ealing permission to determine the case itself and recommended it for approval.

Walters & Cohen’s approved proposal for the site refurbishes the Abbey for administrative and sixth form use, and introduces several new buildings for teaching, sport and dining facilities. At more than 54,000 square metres, the extensive and varied grounds will provide great opportunities for outdoor learning, making the most of the historic walled garden, green parkland spaces and delightful woodland. 

Cindy Walters, director at Walters & Cohen, said: ‘The recent history of Twyford Abbey is dominated by failed planning applications going back almost 30 years, so we are really pleased to have achieved planning and listed building consent for this fascinating and sensitive site. 

‘The project presents a rare opportunity to design a school from scratch – architecturally and pedagogically – which for Walters & Cohen is a culmination of all our experience and research in education. This is also an exciting chance to bring the historic Abbey and surroundings back into use and for us to work with a forward-thinking client.’

Photo credits: Walters & Cohen Architects