Oven-ready Schools Sell-Off

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The Council’s marketing and free-enterprise talents were on proud display last week when a list of community facilities ripe for ‘regeneration’ were put on display. ‘Oven-ready’ and ‘Quick-win’ are the latest buzzwords for publicly owned sites to be sold off for redevelopment.

‘Which site in Southwark would you like to bid for?’ was the subject line of the email promoting a forthcoming round of sell-offs by the Council of schools and day-centres. Prospective developers were invited to come to Tooley St for briefings and pitch for ten ‘oven ready development opportunities’. The exhibition boards showing the sites on offer are each shown in the photographs below.

Several schools are included among the oven-ready lots on offer. Of particular concern in the OBF area is the proposed sale of the Beormund School site in Long Lane/Crosby Row for development. Our Local Services policy working group and our public consultation questionnaire both revealed great concern for the loss of school places and community centres.

We have been making enquiries of the Council regarding how a decision to close a school and replace it with a new housing development is made. As there is already a shortage of places in local schools it has to be wondered where the new residents are supposed to send their kids to school. Finding out hasn’t been straightforward.

Southwark Council have given conflicting explanations regarding the current planning stages.
Maurice Duncan, Project Manager of ‘Regeneration in Partnership’ informed us that the proposal is to relocate Beormund School to Peckham – as is the plan for Cherry Garden School currently on Macks Road, off Southwark Park Road – all part of the ‘Peckham Gateway Project’.

Regenerations Programme Manager, Nnenna Eke-Urum, assured us that there is an obligation to consult the parents at the initial stages of any proposals. The Southwark Education Authority and governing bodies of the school then decide whether to proceed. With a decision for the school land to be redeveloped, the land must first be offered to surrounding schools in the Borough. We are yet to establish which, if any, of these steps have taken place.

We are told that Applications for Disposal or Change of use of Playing Field and School Land will only be authorised by the Secretary of State for Education.

According to Nnenna Eke-Urum there is nothing to consult on regarding Beormund School redevelopment as the process is at it’s very early stages. It has merely been identified by Southwark Education Authority as a school with ‘additional needs’.

Our Enquiries are ongoing. At this meeting we will explain where they stand at the time and allow for discussion of the findings to date and whether OBF should aim to have a role in protecting local schools.

Click here for a list of School Land proposals and the decisions made. On the list is the approval in August this year to dispose of part of Albion Primary School’s land. Further information can be found on the Southwark Council website:
Southwark Regeneration in Partnership Programme Overview
Southwark Regeneration in Partnership Cabinet Report: 2015

- 23 November 2016

 

Site Specific Briefs as displayed at Bidders’ Day, November 2016: