Author: Cyril Richert
The campaign for a secondary school
A lot of talks have been going for the past 12 months on the need to have a new secondary school in the area of Clapham Junction. The Neighbourhood School Campaign has launched an initiative to set-up a free school at the proposed site of the Bolingbroke hospital.
The “Bolingbroke team” as we could nickname it, has selected the educational specialists ARK Schools, a charity which has already set up academies across London, such as Evelyn Grace in Brixton and Ark Academy in Wembley. Setting up a free school is not that simple, from the selection of the organisation in charge of running it, to the level of education provided. If the school goes ahead, then Ark should appoint the teaching staff and run the school as an academy with direct funding from the government.
The parent promoters of the school have met with Michael Gove and even with David Cameron, but that does not mean the school will definitely go ahead. Budgets are tight and the new schools model has yet to be fully defined. The Neighbourhood Schools Campaign has an excellent case however. There are simply no state secondary schools within a 7 square mile area centred on the Bolingbroke site, and year 6 children leaving the local primaries scatter to as many as 49 different secondary schools. The Bolingbroke would make an excellent site for a 5-form entry school (i.e. around 900 students including a sixth form) and both Ark and the parent promoters are committed to working with the Council to ensure that local residents are properly consulted.
The NHS is proposing to use the old Bolingbroke site for residential
However the NHS is proposing an alternative plan this autumn in order to maximise the value of the site.
St George’s Healthcare Trust (SGHT) are looking to sell the old Bolingbroke Hospital site to raise much needed funds for healthcare in Wandsworth and South London . The sale needs to take place within the current financial year so that the vital investment that the Trust has identified from the Bolingbroke sale; including an extension to St George’s A&E department and expansion of its resuscitation department where major trauma patients are admitted; can be delivered. The Trust is mandated to achieve the best price for the disposal of its assets and is dedicated to fulfilling its promise to the local community by providing space within the new development for the PCT, (NHS Wandsworth).
The best professional advice given to the Trust has indicated that the maximum sale value for the site will be realised by achieving planning permission for a PCT/ residential development and that is what the project team will be conducting a pre-application consultation on.
The consultation exhibition will take place on Friday 10th (evening) and Saturday 11th (morning) September and a leaflet giving some details and inviting people to the exhibition has been delivered to approximately 10,000 homes around the Bolingbroke site (download HERE).
According to David Canzini (a member of that team who sent me the information) the PCT / residential application does not preclude or prejudice other uses for the site, such as a school. The Trust and project team have been proactively engaged with Wandsworth Council (LBW), Partnership for Schools and the Neighbourhood School Campaign over the issue of a secondary school on the site. Although there has been considerable progress made, unfortunately to date, no financial offer has been made to buy the site within the timescale that is vital to the Trust.
The key issues for the Trust in selling the Bolingbroke site are:
- Timescale (sale completed within the financial year)
- Maximum value to re-invest in healthcare
- Provision for the PCT
The proposed development would include:
- 1600sq m for PCT use
- 50 apartments
- Mix of 2, 3 and 4 bed
- Included 30% affordable (social rented and shared)
- 44 underground car parking spaces (no residents permits allowed)
- 58 cycle spaces
- Sensitive landscaping
- Highest quality design and build
- No increase in height or width of building
- Traffic studies show residential and PCT use has least impact on local residents
Are we going to have a secondary school in the area? Do you want more residential in the neighbourhood? Is it going to increase the pressure on the already over-subscribed primary schools in Northcote ward?
It is important to give your opinion and attend the pre-application exhibition:
on Friday 10th September 2010
from 6.30pm – 9.00pm
and Saturday 11th September 2010
from 9.30am – 12.30pm
at Main Hall, Chatham Hall,
152 Northcote Road, SW11 6RD