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Project for French Prince Henrik’s school buildings and ground area rejected after local protests

The city and environment committee of the municipality of Frederiksberg listened to the massive local protests and rejected the scope of the building project put forward.

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By Bente D. Knudsen

With the rejection of the plans for the school’s buildings and ground area voted last week, it has been speculated that the French school’s potential buyer may want to annul the deal as it was made conditional to the approval of the buyer’s building project before the end of 2019.

The area around Copenhagen’s French school, Prince Henriks skole, is known as Copenhagen’s little Paris. It is in reality located in the municipality of Frederiksberg, as the surrounding streets are just on the border of the municipality of Copenhagen.

Here you will find French café’s and bistro’s where the waiters only speak French, as well as a range of small speciality shops selling French produce and other delicacies. All of which has been inspired by the location of a French school in the vicinity.

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The main street Værnedamsvej is crowded and busy with life every day, and even more so during weekends.

Contrary to this busy street life, the French school lays dormant in the buildings behind the street with the main access to the school through a narrow passageway, which leads into the yards behind and to two further school buildings.

The controversy, between the building plans for the school area and the local community, is related to the building project, which wanted to add to the school buildings’ heights, build more (and higher) in the former school yard, in order to add both residential buildings, a hotel, small shops and other retail businesses.

The project was proposed by the potential buyer of the area, the American Investor Angelo Gorden.

A sale important for the financing of the move of Prince Henrik’s skole to new buildings on Rolighedsvej.

According to Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, the deal is made conditional to a change to the urban plan for the area (in Danish lokalplan), a change necessary for the project to be approved.

However, the size and scope were felt by many of the residents to be over-powering and to dwarf all of the adjacent buildings around the open-air space of the school yard. A very active protest group was formed to defend the interests of the local citizens, both residents and businesses.

Concerns were also voiced about increased traffic, as well as noise, if a hotel and restaurants were added to the yard area.

The adjacent buildings are residential, with most bedrooms located towards the yard, and as the school closes at 17:00, it is mostly quiet during evenings and weekends.

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With the rejection of the proposed building project at a meeting on Monday 5 November 2018, the City and Environment Committee has listened to the protests put forward.

At the meeting the project was not only rejected but is was also decided that a new urban plan for the area will not be made.

Instead the actual school buildings and ground area must be used in a building project as they are, while at the same time adding a greener environment to the ground area.

To TV2 Lorry, Nikolaj Bøgh, member of the committee from the Conservative party, says that a completely new project has been requested from the project developer.

“At the moment the school yard is full of asphalt. Here we would like a much greener courtyard environment. Also, there should be a better flow and unity with the other adjacent courtyards so that it can become a green area for both residents and other local citizens. The board has been swiped clean and the project developers have to start almost from scratch, so I cannot say when a new project will be presented. (Editor’s note: to the committee and residents).”

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Prins Henriks Skole on Frederiksberg is to move to Rolighedsvej. The school’s current buildings located on Frederiksberg Allé and Værnedamsvej represent an area of 7,900 m2. The buildings date back to 1855 and 1880, and have since their construction been used for educational purposes. They were some of the first buildings put up in the area.

The sale of the current school (the buildings and ground area) are expected to bring in DKK 220 million, an amount to be used to finance the move of its 890 students. Prins Henriks Skole has bought buildings on Rolighedsvej which formerly housed the Danish Veterinary Institute ( an area of 11,200 m2 ) for DKK 80 million. The financial needs of the new school project are expected to amount to between DKK 287 to 367 million, subject to the size of the new school (900 or 1,200 pupils). The new school is expected to open in 2023.