PAXTON PRIMARY: FEDERATION WORK A FLANKER ON SECONDARY SCHOOL PROPOSALS – “No planning permission necessary for interim plans”

PAXTON PRIMARY: FEDERATION WORK A FLANKER ON SECONDARY SCHOOL PROPOSALS – “No planning permission necessary for interim plans”
 
The schools group which wants to put a secondary school on the Paxton primary site for two years appear to have circumvented both public criticism AND any need for planning permission – by using the PRIMARY school building to house SECONDARY school pupils.

The Gipsy Hill Federation had already announced it would be restricting the secondary school intake at Paxton primary. But in a new twist they now say they will be using the existing building to house that intake.

“By using the existing space within the building at Paxton, the Gipsy Hill Federation would not need to seek planning permission from Lambeth” says the Paxton Matters website, set up by parents, residents and others to oppose plans by the Federation to site extra school buildings on the school playground.

The move comes as Helen Hayes, MP for the area, is due to meet the Education Funding Agency this week over the issue.

Paxton Matters website adds: “In other words, the Federation has just killed off the only remaining official channel through which the community can formally object to co-location.

“Sounds unfair? “Maybe, but the fact remains: Without erecting temporary structures, it appears the Federation is well within its right to change the use of the existing building at its discretion.

“Here’s how it works. “Proposed buildings must go through the council’s planning process before they get the go-ahead to build.

“This process requires a community consultation and examination by the planning committee of the building’s proposed design and use.

“In cases where the community has reasonable and strong objections to the proposal (like where traffic levels would become untenable for the area), the committee can decide to reject an application. “Once through planning, however, the plans for a building can proceed.

“What happens next is where the Federation gets off easy. “Once a building is built, the new structures can be used for anything within their classed purpose.

“In the case of the new Paxton Primary building, planning approval was for a primary school that looks like the school we have now; however, now that it’s built, the nature of the educational provision on site can be changed.

“Our take on things? “With its ‘concession’ the Federation has placated our concerns over temporary classrooms but it has also done itself a massive favour.

“Not only has it bypassed the need for an onerous planning application, but it has just circumvented the input of parents and residents once again.”

Paxton Matters say they have been told by a senior Lambeth council officer that: “In short, no planning consent would be required for use of the approved Paxton primary school site as a secondary school, if the existing building is being used.”

When asked if planning would have been required had the Federation proceeded with its original plans of eight-form entry, the officer responded: “Of course, any future building extensions on the Paxton site would require planning consent, including any proposal to install temporary school buildings (e.g. portable cabins) on the Paxton School site.

“This would require planning permission and would be subject to full consideration against all planning policies.” The officer added that the application would also include a statutory consultation with local residents and other local stakeholders, say Paxton Matters.

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