Officials at City of London Primary Academy Islington (COLPAI) have taken a decision to recommence building work at the site in Golden Lane despite concerns from residents over Covid-19 social distancing measures.
Construction at the development site was temporarily suspended on 27 March when contractor ISg advised it was unable to fully comply with Government guidelines in relation to the operation of construction sites in response to coronavirus.
But after a two-week shutdown, workers are back on site.
Government guidance states that construction work plays an “important role” in ensuring public safety and the provision of public services, adding: “It can continue if done in accordance with the social distancing guidelines wherever possible”.
Advice adds: “Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the site to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
“If you decide the work should go ahead, you should advise staff to wash their hands frequently using soap and water for 20 seconds, and especially after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing, on arrival at work, before and after eating, after using public transport, and when they arrive home. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used.
“You should still advise staff to keep two metres apart as much as possible.”
Additional measures can be read as part of a recent COLPAI statement here.
But writing in her latest City Matters column, Golden Lane resident Jacqueline Swanson summed up resident feeling towards construction that locals deem ‘non-essential’ work.
She writes: “Everyone wants lockdown to end but when we look at the modelling and how long that could take, we have to factor in some recovery time for our NHS staff and all care givers; they can’t keep working at this intensity.
“How many more pleas to do we have to hear from emergency room staff asking us to stay at home unless our work is essential? The only safe way forward is to do as they ask.”
The City of London Corporation said it will be keeping a close eye on developments to ensure ISg is enforcing Government directives.
A spokesperson said: “ISg has now set out measures it will take to demonstrate their ability to recommence works on the former Richard Cloudesley School site and comply with government/Public Health England guidance on Covid-19. We will be closely monitoring the site to ensure it remains compliant.
“Continuing works on the combined project will ensure that the City is in a better position to provide for those in need of social housing and the children in need of a new primary school building.”