A new school for St John’s
At long last the Council has come round to exploring the option to build a new and larger St John’s Primary School as part of the redevelopment of the Green Man Lane Estate. WEN has argued from the very start of the development process that this was a golden opportunity to rebuild the school to add much-needed extra capacity. Indeed, rebuilding the school was in the original plans from Rydon/A2Dominion who eventually won the contract. The school would have been moved a little way south onto its original 1894 site and in its place there would have been three-storey houses. For whatever reason this idea was dropped but has now been revived and the Council Cabinet recentlyagreed to explore with the developers the option of rebuilding the school on its existing site but, this time, it would be a three-storey school plus two storeys of homes, making a five-storey building on this road of mostly two-storey Victorian/Edwardian homes. (See Plans for Green Man Lane April 2009 )
There is likely to be some strong local opposition to the height of this proposed building. This could have been avoided if the Council had been more forward-looking at the very start of the planning and discussion for the Green Man Lane development.
Although it’s not specifically on the agenda for tonight’s Elthorne Ward Forum meeting questions about these plans are very likely to be raised. The meeting is at the Green Man Lane Community Centre and the meeting starts at 7.15pm.
Update Wednesday 11pm
I went to tonight’s Elthorne Ward Forum meeting. The discussion about St John’s School was feisty. Some nearby residents made clear their concerns about the consultation process and the Council’s poor performance over the installation of portakabin classrooms a couple of years ago when the Council had to admit it had failed in a proper consultation for their installation.
Some useful information emerged. The Council is looking at two possible options for rebuilding the school. One is the 50-storey option mentioned above. The second is to rebuild the school a little further south and put a row of houses along Felix Road. This second option sounds very similar to the one first floated in 2009 (see Plans for Green Man Lane April 2009 link above).
The consultation process was explained. There will be an initial consultation about the principle of expanding the school and this is about the need for additional school places in the light of projected birth rates and population growth. Assuming this consultation shows there is a need for more primary school places then the second consultation will be about the proposed design of the new school. If both consultations approve the proposals and planning permission is granted then a possible completion date is 2017/18.
The discussion concluded with a plea for consultation at the early formative stage of plans, better communication from the Council about its thinking and a consultation process that covers all stakeholders including residents of all the surrounding roads.