Sutton North Lib Dem Councillors

Cllrs Ruth Dombey, Marlene Heron and Steve Penneck working hard for Sutton North all year round Learn more

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School site proposed for Rosehill Park

by Ruth, Marlene, and Steve on 8 November, 2016

After a lengthy search across the borough for all possible sites for a new secondary school, Sutton Council will be proposing that part of the tennis centre and the disused all weather pitch in Rosehill Park be used to build the second new secondary school which is needed by 2019/20.  This follows an extensive consultation on the Local Plan which looked at all available school sites.

It is very clear that we cannot avoid building a second new secondary school in the Borough.  This is after the one proposed for the ex-Sutton Hospital in Belmont, work on which will start next year.  By 2020 there will be an additional 450 pupils coming through to our secondary schools.  These pupils are already in our primary schools, and it means that we need two new schools.  The Belmont school will provide 200 of these places.  The remaining places will need a further, second school.  All new secondary schools have to be established as free Schools, by Trusts, not by the Council.  Greenshaw Learning Trust has had approval from the government to set up a new school in Sutton, subject to a site being found.

Earlier this year the Council consulted as part of the Local Plan on possible new sites for schools.  Council officers have considered dozens of possible locations.  Their remit has been to find sites as far as possible that are: owned by the Council; close to where the schoolchildren live; capable of being developed within the timeframe needed; and not on open green space.

It is clear that the growth in the number of schoolchildren is in the Sutton area.  This is where the biggest growth in primary age pupils has occurred.  Also there is continuing home building around Sutton Town Centre.  The first new school, in Belmont in the south of the Borough, will take some of this pressure, but even though we have good neighbouring schools in Greenshaw and Glenthorne, more provision needs to be made in the north of the Borough.  The local plan consultation considered the following sites:

  • A number of Council housing estates around the town centre which are due to be redeveloped
  • Sutton West Centre in Robin Hood Lane and Robin Hood Junior School site
  • The Civic Centre
  • Collingwood Recreation Ground

None of these sites could be available within the timeframe, except for Collingwood Recreation Ground, which is a green field site and does not have suitable access for a school.

In addition to these sites in Sutton, other sites around the Borough have been investigated.  This search has not found a suitable site which is available, owned by the Council and is not open green space.

Ruth, Marlene and Steve say:  ‘We are very aware that the proposal to put the school in Rosehill Park attracted considerable opposition when it was the subject of consultation.  We have been working over these past few months to avoid needing to put a school on the park.  However, despite all the work that has been done, an alternative site has not been identified.  We are opposed to any further development of the open green space on the park, but a new school built on part of the tennis centre and the disused pitch has to be considered, provided that all the school facilities including play space and parking are contained within that site, and it meets planning requirements for design, traffic and parking.  It is particularly important that we preserve the areas of park land to the south of the all-weather pitch, the public tennis courts, the bowling green and the land adjoining it, and the cricket pitch as open public space, as well as all the parkland to the north and east.  But as councillors we have a legal duty to provide school places, and there is no credible alternative option’.

The recommendation will now be considered by the Council’s Housing Economy and Business Committee on Tuesday 6 December.  If it is approved, it is expected that the proposal will become part of the draft Sutton Local Plan, on which there will be further consultation early next year.  In the meantime, the Greenshaw Learning Trust are expected to develop their plans for their new school and to submit a planning application.  Ward councillors will support residents in ensuring that any new plans do not encroach upon the open green space of Rosehill Park, which we know is valued by all.

   8 Comments

8 Responses

  1. George Davies says:

    We already have three schools in the area – greenshaw, glenthorne and all saints benhilton . The traffic is awful as parents from other parts of sutton drive their children to school. I would recommend that you spend some time looking at how busy angel hill/rosehill gets i.e. Buses, ambulances and police cars.

  2. Janet Ford says:

    We already have enough school activity in this area, Why is a site in Hackbridge or Worcester Park not being looked for urgently?

    • Ruth, Marlene, and Steve says:

      Janet – there are no sites in Worcester Park. A site in Hackbridge was looked at, but it is open space: the site at Rosehill would be on already developed land. We have not been able to find an alternative feasible site.

  3. Ian Lambert says:

    We are a net IMPORTER of 2000 school children to this borough because of our 5 grammar schools which should be providing education for SUTTON pupils. We closed and sold Elmwood School in Hackbridge, we closed Sutton West, we closed High View and sold half the site and converted the rest to primary education, the same happened to Gaynesford, Glastonbury Boys closed and became a primary whilst the junior and infant schools are now housing estates. Tweedale Secondary became a primary school before all this but at least the building remained. Wallington County Grammar for Girls became Stanley Park and the building is now a primary school.
    WHEN are we going to stop this ludricous cycle of selling off school buildings or turning them into primary schools and then bleating we haven’t enough school placed? In the meantime the council propose building a new free school – not under their control – on OUR public green space – Rosehill Recreation Ground – no doubt losing the putting course, the tennis courts, the bowling green and that open space now publicly used.
    When all the above was happening under the Conservative Council in the 70s the teachers and their unions ALL advised the council NOT sell off or convert the schools because that would be ‘short-sighted’ – we were ignored and are paying the price.
    We are too small a borough to educate an extra 2000 students from elsewhere.

    • Ruth, Marlene, and Steve says:

      Your recollection of the school closure of the 1970s and early 1980s is correct. However I would add:

      – at the time school rolls were falling drastically, and no schools have been closed for many years

      – many of the schools you mention were small, without sixth forms, and found it hard to attract the numbers of pupils they needed

      – had they been kept open, the educational opportunities available at those schools would have been too limited given the curriculum developments that were emerging, and the cost of keeping them open for 40 years would have cost the residents of Sutton dearly

      – in due course Sutton has built new schools at Greenshaw, Overton Grange and Stanley Park. New schools with better facilities in more modern buildings than those that went before, able to deliver a modern curriculum, and very popular with parents

      – unlike other Councils which, faced with the same problem, did sell off school sites for housing, Sutton largely kept the sites within educational use and has been able to use them for primary schools as the number of children began to increase

      – Yes, if the grammar schools were to be only for Sutton pupils we would not need a new school, but the Council has no control over which pupils these schools admit.

      Just to add, we are clear that the new school must be kept to the tennis centre and all weather pitch and not encroach on the open parkland or the bowling club and other facilities.

  4. Tomasz Wiadrowski says:

    I have moved to Sutton Common with my wife and 8 year old child 6 months ago. Our child is still attending primary school in Southfields (Wandsworth) and we intend to let her finish primary school there. We will be needing place at secondary school for her in 2019. She is not part of Sutton statistics as she does not attend primary school there but that’s just another head to count. I have some friends with children of the same age who done the same and even more considering move as Sutton is one of few places remaining where property can be bought for reasonable price. I predict there will be even more need for school places pretty soon, not only for pupils already in primary schools. So well done Sutton. I, as a local resident support this move.

  5. yvonne carney says:

    We do not want a school on our Park. We have already lost space to a couple of businesses run for money. There will be massive traffic problems. I understand the Park is MOL and should not be built on and enclosed under a roof!! Mind you, we can all have our say but it is already a fait acompli

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