Lambeth College has announced its plans for its site on Brixton Hill that will see a major redevelopment underpinned by the Department of Education, who will buy the land from the College, an independent incorporated organisation. This should put to an end misinformation about ‘privatisation’ or ‘sell-off’.
The proposal will see a programme to create a brand new facility for Lambeth College as part of an education campus for Brixton. This will enable Lambeth College to continue to offer further education from its current site in Brixton.
Mark Silverman, Principal and Chief Executive of Lambeth College, said: “I am delighted that the site is going to be retained entirely for educational use, being completely redeveloped to create a modern learning campus for Brixton, including a brand new college building. It represents a major investment in education, learning and skills, not just for Brixton but also for the whole of Lambeth. This will allow Lambeth College to develop a high quality provision for adults and the community in what will be a modern, attractive learning environment.”
Streatham MP, Chuka Umunna, said: “In and outside of Parliament I have long campaigned for the provision of high quality further education, which is vital to expand opportunities for Lambeth residents and vital for our economy. So it is fantastic that Lambeth College will be able to continue to offer further education on their current site in Brixton and I look forward to the development of the modern learning campus. I appreciate all the hard work that has gone into securing this positive future for the Brixton site and would like to thank all those involved for their efforts in making this happen.”
Councillors will now be working to ensure that local residents are involved in the construction phase and disruption is minimised. We understand that the re-development programme will be completed by September 2015.
We will directly behind the college. I am really pleased it will remain an educational establishment – However, could you confirm the news that it will also be a secondary Catholic Free School ? I understand permission has been granted for this without any public consultation. Could you clarify this please?
Also will local residents be consulted on the design / construction of the building again?
Thanks Cathie. The Department for Education has indeed made that decision – without consultation with the community or with the Council, which opposes the school. The Roman Catholic diocese also does not support the school. We have concerns about the location and are getting answers ourselves today to the questions you are asking. There are issues around traffic and road safety already around the site, for instance, and many of the free school intake will be from a much wider area given its roots in Clapham, so we have concerns about that impact each morning and afternoon.
We had expected the new building to be largely within the scope of the existing planning permission but now there should be a full new planning application with the opportunity for people to make objections etc. Although the government has made it easier for free schools to open without planning permission, that is for existing buildings – there are questions to be asked about the construction timetable and the suggested opening date of the school in September next year.
Martin, could you also try to clarify what will happen about the admissions policy please? According to the Trinity website, it is by distance measured from the Clapham clock tower (so if the school is successful, children living in the streets around the school and in Brixton may not get places). Will the policy be changed and if so will there be a consultation (as per the the Admissions Code)?
Thanks Lowri. We are still trying to find out more from Government, and indeed this may not be the only free school on the site. The school has to have its statutory consultation period from January but, as things stand, it does not look as though the admissions policy will change from its Clapham base to a Brixton one. We’ll put the consultation details here as soon as we get them.
Thanks Martin, that’s really interesting. Do you know when more information about the site as a whole will be available – including the possibility that another free school will be on the site? And do you know of any other school where the distance point is outside the school site? The School Admission Code says both that oversubscription criteria must be reasonable (1.8) and that admission authorities must make clear “the point IN the school from which all distances are measured” (1.13) (my caps). And finally, could you confirm that the school’s statutory consultation will include Brixton and Brixton Hill specifically, even if they do not plan to change the admission policy (ie it will not just consult Clapham residents)? Sorry for all these questions!