Robert Park 0

Please don't demolish Gordonbrock School!

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On Thursday 10th December, Lewisham Council's planning committee decided to approve plans to rebuild Gordonbrock School. This decision was made despite the fact that every elected councillor at the meeting described the design of the new school as being of "poor quality". The new proposals include the demolition of two of the original Edwardian teaching blocks, and replacement with a new building which joins all the teaching spaces together, and extends the capacity of the school from 2.5 to 3 form entry - an increase of 105 pupils throughout the school.

This is all very well, but many parents believe that these plans are ill-considered, and the future of the school and its pupils will be best served by an alternative approach. This would include refurbishment of the existing buildings together with sensitively designed extensions or a new building to replace existing temporary structures.

We are opposed to the redevelopment proposals for the following reasons:

1. Loss of Outdoor Space. There will actually be a 16% REDUCTION in the outdoor play space for the children, despite the proposal wrongly stating it would increase - this fact has been accepted by the designers, but has been disregarded by Lewisham. 105 more children will attend Gordonbrock, making there even less outdoor space per child and more noise for local residents, with potential parking and congestion issues during school drop-offs and pick-ups.

2. Disruption. Poor planning and the logistics of bussing all 500 pupils to-and-from Gordonbrock to Greenvale, in Perry Rise, twice a day for 15 months is a cause of concern for many parents. Is it really worth all of this to achieve newer looking classrooms?

3. Sustainability. Fifteen months of demolition and rebuilding works = noise and pollution, while the two demolished buildings will go to landfill and be replaced by a building with a much shorter life-span than the current buildings. Refurbishment is always the most sustainable option, and a regeneration project of any type must first take a  view on this route forward. Other Lewisham primary schools in the area, notably Lucas Vale, St Stephens and Holbeach, have recently been refurbished in a way that retains the original structure, whilst improving the accommodation and incorporating new energy reduction strategies.

4. Architectural Heritage. The collection of Edwardian buildings that currently comprise Gordonbrock School are of significant architectural quality, and play an important role in contributing to the historic fabric of Ladywell and Brockley. The removal of two of the original buildings would be a major architectural loss that would be very difficult to offset by replacement with a new building. Sadly, the design quality of the proposed consruction falls well short of the quality required. This is not just our opinion, but the opinion of Lewisham's Councillors who voted for the planning consent.

5. Lack of public consultation. It seems that parents of children in the school and local residents have not been fully consulted on these prosposals. The majority of parents in the school were first briefed on these plans just before Christmas, and at that point the development was presented as a point of fact. This redevelopment may be what Lewisham want, what the developer wants and even what the School Governors want. But is it what the parents, the children and the local community want? They don’t know the answer to that question, because nobody cared to ask us.

If you agree with these points, then we would be very grateful if you could communicate this to Lewisham Council and the Governors of the School by signing this petition. THE BULLDOZERS ARE DUE TO MOVE IN IN APRIL - THIS IS THE LAST CHANCE TO CONVINCE THOSE THAT PULL THE STRINGS OF THE MISTAKE THEY ARE MAKING!!!


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