Mar 25 2017

Pinner Wood Chalk Mines – Turmoil for residents

A week ago, the residents of Pinner Wood may have been enjoying life: an oustanding and excellent local school, and house prices steadily rising (or, as the Independant puts it, “Harrow, home to Stanmore (the end of the Jubliee Line), is the gateway to the desirable commuter belt of Hertfordshire.”).

Life in indeed good. Or was.

Fast forward a week, and it’s a different story. Firstly, 21 months after a three-metre crater appeared in the staff car park, the local school has been closed – possibly for good – with kids scattered to the four winds as the council scrabbles to find places in other school – schools which are already filled to bursting.

The council says “All Key Stage 2 pupils will relocate to Whitefriars School – Year 6 will start on Monday 27 March at Whitefriars, and the remainder of KS2 pupils will start at Whitefriars in the Summer term (after the Easter holidays). We have identified two possible locations for Key Stage 1 students for the Summer term – the old school site at Civic Centre and St Jerome’s Church of England Bi-Lingual Primary School.”

Not to sound snobby, but taking kids from affluent Pinner, and dumping them in crime-ridden Wealdstone, isn’t likely to go down well with parents. The local drug dealers must be rubbing their hands with glee.

Next, the three-metre crater is only the start of it: the council being very careful to say “…currently we know of no reason to suggest that the tunnels we have discovered to date stretch under neighbouring properties.” In true butt-covering fashion, they back this up with “All our investigations have been limited to the school site.”

In other words, although the entire area looks like it’s built on Swiss cheese (see map, below), residents shouldn’t panic. Images of a tour of the chalk mine, four years ago, can be found here. The investigations into the extent of the mines will, say the council, take 6-12 months.

Map courtesy of PLHS

A local estate agent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said “I would certainly advise buyers to wait a little longer and see what the outcome of those further investigations are, before considering making an offer on a property in the immediate area.” Pinner Wood’s house prices are likely to be on a knife-edge for the foreseeable future

Finally, it’s reported on Facebook (so it must be true…) that Northwood Academy are refusing to take the school, lock stock and barrel, even though it’s said that they ‘have room.’ Residents are calling on their local MP, Nick Hurd, to get involved.

The council has produced a fact sheet here, for those affected.

Other reading: Pinner Local History Society, Subterranea Brittanica.


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