THE independent Catholic Primary School of Our Lady of Sion, Notting Hill, London, may be forced to close by a decision of the Secretary of State for the Environment, expected within the next two or three months.
Parents as well as local residents' associations are doing all they can to prevent the closure. But they are afraid that the decision is already a foregone conclusion.
The site on which the school stands is wanted by the Science Centre, a scheme which aims to provide facilities for scientific institutions throughout the country. It has offered about £900,000 for the site.
But in February the local council rejected an application for the change of usage. The Science Centre has appealed, and now a report must go to the Secretary of State from a Department of the Environment inspector.
Local residents have voiced strong objections to the scheme, saying that it will drastically alter the quiet residential character of the area. Increased traffic and pressure on parking space. will result from any Science Centre takeover, they claim.
Parents at the school are also angry about the way the proposal to sell has been handled.
The first official notification they had from the Sisters of Sion came in a letter from Sister Estelle Walsh, the provincial co-ordinator, dated February 25 — three days after the council considered the centre's application.
In her letter, Sister Walsh explained the reasons for the proposed sale. They included the greatly reduced number of sisters and heavy debts. She said the school would not close before the summer of 1978 at the earliest.
"We would definitely give fair notice of the closure of the school, and the minimum would he one year," she added.
In your issue of April 22 Craiglockhart College was described as Scotland's only Catholic teacher training college. 'f his was in fact incorrect because Notre Dame College of Education, 13earsden and Dowanhill, Glasgow, has places for 1,400 students and accommodation for 300 residents.