Pressure Group Calls For Rethink of Plans For Putney Hospital Site

As Wandsworth Council releases new primary school projections for Thamesfield

Committed To Appropriate Development Adjacent To Putney Common

Committed To A School & To Putney Common

National Pressure Group Backs Friends of Putney Common

'Crowdfunding Appeal' By Residents

Judicial Review judgment subject of an immediate appeal by F of PC

Link to full judgement

High Court Sides With Council Over Putney Common Access

Date Set For High Court Judicial Review

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New estimates of the need for primary school places in Wandsworth have been released by the Council (ref Paper No 14-11). The projections and the planned response from the Council will be discussed by the Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 16 of January, the Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 21 January and the Executive on the 27 January 2014.

These predictions of demand for primary school places are particularly important in the Thamesfield Ward where the Council are according to FofPC "trying to impose the building of a huge 2FE school and 24 luxury flats on the old Putney Hospital site, facilitated by the building of access roads on Putney Common, against considerable opposition from local residents". There are currently two legal challenges to the Council’s plans.

Friends of Putney Common (FofPC) Spokesman Nicholas Evans said today,“The Council have been exaggerating the demand for primary places in Thamesfield to justify the over-intensive plans for the old Putney Hospital site. By spinning the non-existent “urgent need” for new primary places they had hoped to hide from residents the real situation. The birth rate is dropping, there are enough primary school places already, the new school is neither wanted or needed, as their own figures now demonstrate.”

The new Council estimates show that the 2013 projections in Thamesfield ward were completely inaccurate. The following chart shows the discrepancy between the predictions made in 2013 and 2014, and also the declining birth rate.

Source: Wandsworth Borough Council Paper 14-11, January 2014: Report by the Director of Children’s Services on the updated projected need for additional primary and secondary school places

FofPC calls for a statement from Councillor Kathy Tracey, Cabinet member for Education
The Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Kathy Tracey when defending the proposed new school claimed “that without new places being provided, as many as one in four children in Thamesfield ward could soon be without a reception place”. (* WBC Press Release September 2012)

FofPC believe that: "Given that the Wandsworth projections have now been reduced so dramatically it is evident that Tracey’s claim was exaggerated to simply defend Wandsworth’s proposal. A scheme that was not only poorly planned but has been equally poorly executed from the very outset. Kathy Tracey should now explain why she so blatantly misled residents on the true demand for the school".

FofPC believe that Wandsworth’s own projection data over a number of years has been wildly inaccurate. Comparisons between actual and numbers on a school roll and the annual projections show this to be the case consistently over a number of years. The demand used to justify the building of a new 2FE Primary school at the old Putney Hospital site has now been halved to a maximum need of just 1FE, with a reception class of 30.

A spokesman for Fof PC said: "Even those figures may well be exaggerated, given past experience of the validity of the projection figures and the volatility of demand".

January 17, 2014