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Eurocentres - Eltham

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Language Schools were, at one time, viewed with some scepticism by local politicians, as they were seen as a front for illegal immigration or for students disappearing into a black economy on completing only nominal language training. Eurocentres, despite an unimpeachable reputation, confronted some of this concern when looking for new premises in London.

Walsingham Planning was employed to review potential new homes and, when one was found, to secure the necessary planning permissions.

Confronted by the apparent contradiction that a use which provided young people with new skills would be detrimental to pro-employment policies and with concern that students placed undue burdens on local housing and services, Eurocentres, through Walsingham Planning, sought a sui generis permission for a former office in Eltham.

The Applicants’ sound reputation was enhanced by their choice of a building owned by The Crown, leased to English Heritage and within the grounds of a Palace. The application therefore involved sensitive issues of local politics, residential concern, traffic, local housing and heritage.

The Crown Immunity afforded to the building made research and interpretation of its history and lawful use particularly tricky, especially when a military involvement was revealed.

Walsingham Planning was able to satisfy the local authority as to the legitimacy of the proposed use, the economic benefits to the local community of having students living in the area and the concept of language tourism as a positive venture. The permission was granted.

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