To suggest planning solutions in a letter to Wandsworth Council
The Friends of Putney Common (FoPC), representing a local group of 57 Putney residents who are against the current plans for the development of Putney Hospital and many others who have lodged objections to 2012/0758, and the Save Elliott School Campaign who represent a considerable number of people concerned by the agreement to sell of some of the Elliott school land, have been discussing how our mutual concerns can be resolved in a constructive way.
I need hardly say that both developments have been mired in controversy. I will not however rehearse the detailed reasons for this state of affairs in this email.
Our two groups have looked at how the need to protect Elliott School and a requirement for a 2FE primary school can be met in a cost-effective way. We would therefore like the Council to consider the following solution:
1) Build a 2FE primary school on the Westleigh Lodge site adjacent to Elliott School which it already owns. Integrate some of the necessary related infrastructure such as playgrounds and parking and sports areas at Elliott. The Elliott site has considerable advantages as far as location, transport connections and position over the Putney Hospital site.
2) Retain the land which was to be sold to developers.
3) Withdraw the application for a 2FE school and apartments at Putney Hospital. Sell the cleared site for appropriate development, either residential or perhaps some form of retirement village. This would mean writing off some of expenditure already committed, but would include savings of £250,000 in access fees for the necessary access roads.
This solution allows the Council to meet its requirement for primary school places, but also has the advantage of showing that it listens to residents over the very unpopular plans at Elliott. Pairing the two schools also allows the possibility of a single academy provider running both schools, with the benefit of transfers from one to the other. While the likely income to be generated at Putney Hospital may be marginally less than envisaged at Elliott, is can be obtained at an earlier stage in the development process. Incidentally this solution has also been put forward by the Putney Society among aothers.
We are also aware of the likely impact on the two developments from legal challenges leading to judicial review should they go ahead. As you are aware FoPC and its legal advisers are of the view that the Conservators have acted ultra vires in signing the easement agreements, and intend to proceed to judicial review if planning approval is given next week. We will also challenge the lack of an EIA and other demonstrable planning errors. Similarly the Save the Elliott campaign also intend to proceed to judicial review over the permission given to Wandsworth by the DfEE to sell the school land. Both processes will be long-winded and costly for the Council.
We expect that as our democratically elected representatives that you will take this joint initiative seriously. Both FoPC and SESC look forward to being able to discuss these draft proposals further.
Friends of Putney Common & Save Elliott School
September 20, 2012