NLCS Masterplan

An epic masterplan

NLCS is an independent day school for girls aged 4 to 18, well known for its high academic achievement. In 2016, we won an invited competition to design a 20-year masterplan and lead the first building projects.

Aims of the masterplan

- To understand the planning context and establish what type of masterplan application would be best suited

- To rethink movement around the site: entrances for pedestrians, vehicles, deliveries, links between buildings, security, traffic flow and parking. Our research showed that 70% of the pupils entered the site from Dalkeith Grove, yet there was no reception at this end of the site

- To phase building work to minimise disruption

- To meet NLCS’s aspiration to be a zero-carbon school by 2030

- To create outstanding teaching facilities, with STEM a priority

This first aim was trickier than any of us could have imagined, partly because the planners could not decide what type of masterplan application they would like to see for the site. A hybrid application was eventually agreed upon: this included a detailed element for the first phase of the masterplan – a new school reception and Ideas Hub – and an outline element for the later phases of the masterplan.

The site is highly sensitive: listed landscape, historic parks and gardens, listed buildings, on Metropolitan Open Land and in a conservation area. The masterplan was also referrable to the Greater London Authority (GLA) for approval, which lengthened the process.

The masterplan provides:

- a thorough analysis of the site’s history

- analysis of current issues (movement, inadequate facilities, security) opportunities and constraints

- full plans plannning application for phase 1

- outline masterplan with parameters for phases 2 and 3 in terms of location, building areas and footprints, maximum heights of the buildings and the number of floors. This also set out ecology, biodiversity, landscape, transport and sustainability. These parameters will help smooth the way when the school is ready to develop these phases, which will require reserved matters applications only.

This was an incredibly intricate masterplan approved by the London Borough of Harrow in 2020, a particularly demanding local authority, and we are proud to have steered our way through it in collaboration with a brilliant team.



Work undertaken2016-2020


StructureMichael Barclay Partnership

Building ServicesMax Fordham LLP

LandscapeBradley-Hole Schoenaich

Project managerFuture 54

Planning consultantIceni Projects

Principal DesignerRLF