Ark Putney Academy Rebuilding Plans Approved

Refurbishment of school buildings dependent on sale of playing fields

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Councillors on the planning committee have approved proposals for the £30m refurbishment and modernisation of the Ark Putney Academy formerly Elliott School.

The proposals will see extensive work done on the secondary school's Grade II listed main building, and the construction of a new replacement sports hall.

The council state that: " The modernised school building will provide pupils with brighter and bigger state-of-the-art classrooms, new lifts, toilets and a better assembly hall."

However, it is believed that the work cannot proceed with project without first obtaining the proceeds from the sale of the playing fields at the site. The decision on this application is not being made until 8th October.

On the Putney forum Adam Gray ex Elliott pupil who opposed the decision to sell off school grounds said, "There isn't a contradiction in principle: the work to renovate the school is a separate planning application entirely to the one to build housing on 40% of the school grounds. 

"There's of course a problem in practice if the other application isn't approved, because the £30m to pay for it won't exist.

"But anyone can put in a planning application for anything anywhere - the decision is simply about whether there is planning approval for the work to be done. It doesn't compel the work to happen. "

A report to councillors at Tuesday's committee stated:
"The school site needs essential repairs to meet the current and future learning needs. The existing problems include: dilapidated cladding, decaying windows, poor heating/cooling, unsuitable sports provision, not wheelchair accessible, classrooms below teaching standards and structural problems.

"The existing building has a very high level of carbon emissions. The majority of building services and glazing are at the end of their useful life. The east-west orientation of the building results in summertime overheating, therefore materials and façade design have worked to address this problem and so reduce carbon emissions by improving natural ventilation. The existing heat system is oil fired so converting to gas will reduce carbon emissions considerably."

Education spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said:" "The school was built more than 50 years ago and has reached the end of its design life. If it was any other building it would have been much simpler and cheaper to demolish it and build a modern new school from scratch. However its protected status as a listed building means this was not an option we could pursue."

September 13, 2013