More on Selwyn Primary School in Highams Park

A local resident writes:

‘As your blog has previously noted, LBWF plans to demolish our impressive Edwardian Primary School and replace it with a new “modular” prefab alternative, which has been described on the BBC website as an “Austerity school”.

 It is confirmed that this proposal will go to the council’s Planning Committee on 12 July.

As you have reported, too, SAVE Britain’s Heritage argues persuasively for keeping the present structure. But it is also worth underlining that the Victorian Society and other local groups are equally concerned by the plans.

LBWF has stonewalled the local community.  At Hale End and Highams Park Community Ward Forum on 27 June, Cllr. Tony Bell (Labour) told a packed school hall that he had cancelled the officially scheduled half hour “informal chat with councillors” which traditionally takes place before the meeting proper.  After being refused point-blank any discussion of Selwyn’s future, half of those attending walked out. Perhaps ironically, the policeman who then took to the podium warned local residents about “door to door salesmen appearing on your front doorstep, that promise you something but don’t deliver”!

The local community has proposals which significantly enhance the Selwyn plan, without affecting the planned building schedule or budget.  These proposals have the endorsement of recognised building experts and would add much needed pupil capacity to the school.

LBWF has distributed a missive to local residents denying “false rumours” circulating about plans for housing on the Selwyn site. But as the saying goes, “never believe anything, until it has been officially denied”.

Despite the flawed consultation last December, which a mere 66 people attended, LBWF insists that the ‘consultation’ box has been ticked.

Selwyn Primary school is being built on what Highams Park Forum considers a sub-standard budget of approximately £8 million.  What could possibly go wrong?

It has also just been announced that LBWF has consultation plans to demolish Hale End Library in Highams Park and build apartments on site.  The Library may be rehoused adjacent to Tesco’s store.  Using public property to build high-density housing sounds very similar to what some believe may be being proposed for the Selwyn site.

Neighbouring Hackney offers a disturbing vision of what soon could come to Highams Park. Parents there have likened the new schools being built to “battery farms”, with internal corridors that are “artificially lit rat-runs”, and have launched a petition urging the council to halt the development of private homes on school playgrounds.

The message to LBWF is clear: don’t cling to a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time making it!’.

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