Campaign welcomes commitment to improvement but demands clarity
The Save Elliott School Campaign welcomes Mr Phillips’ commitment to renovating and improving Elliott School. However, the questions remain. What will be lost under the current proposals, what will be re-provided and is there a better alternative? The public consultation fails to make clear vital information needed to assess the proposals. This information should be at the heart of the consultation.
1. What will be permanently lost to Elliott under the proposals to dispose of 56% of the site.
Without this any defence of the proposals is likely to sound like platitudes. It needs to be stated:
2. What the details of the refurbishment actually are?
3. What funding formula for Elliott School is proposed from the selling off and re-development of the land.
4. What the housing development is likely to be on the site disposed of. No-one would disagree that the school needs refurbishing and modernising and its heritage preserved but these questions must be answered urgently.
We know Wandsworth Council has spent millions on new free schools in other parts of the borough since the cancellation of Building Schools for the Future, although they have not funded crucial work to Elliott’s existing listed buildings and are planning to demolish part of it and deprive local school children of wonderful open green space and amenity. Is it any surprise that this infuriates the public?
The authorities have failed in their duty to look after perhaps the most significant modern educational building in the borough and now they are saying that selling the schools main playground and demolishing its historic sports hall and technology block is the only option. We are told that all “other options” have been looked at in detail. Yet no evidence of this has been presented. None of the financial considerations have been disclosed leaving the public in the dark about the feasibility of possible alternatives.
It is very simple: selling such a major part of the site (56%) with the inherent loss of facilities including 6 tennis courts, athletic facilities, outdoor stage, nature garden and main green community play space and original landscaping features (dating back to 1954), demolishing a significant part of the grade II listed building and permanently reducing the capacity of the school, is without question, devastating for the heritage and future provision for local children’s education at Elliott School.
Yet the authorities continue to represent the proposal as "saving the school and its Heritage". We therefore urge the public to join the discussions and encourage Wandsworth Borough Council and Elliott School to find a more appropriate solution. One that really does save the school, its heritage and its irreplaceable landscaped playground.
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Save Elliott School Campaign
April 5, 2012