BrocSoc presents its plans for Gordonbrock

Tuesday 4 May, 8pm-9.30pm
Crofton Park Baptist Church
Brockley Grove, SE4 1EA

The Brockley Society is holding an open meeting to present its alternative proposals to those of Lewisham council for the modernisation of Gordonbrock School. They say:

Working with a number of Gordonbrock parents and our architect, we have sought to demonstrate that there are alternatives to demolition and rebuilding, still achieving all of the goals for the school, and within budget. We will explain why we intervened, and why so late. There will also be an opportunity for all interested parties to express their views and ask questions. All welcome.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

Or will it it end up like the roof top protest that happened at Lewisham Bridge School.

Anonymous said...

Please see below the motion presented last Tuesday for vote at the meeting on the 4th May.



"In light of the current economic climate and the certainty that budger for a school refurbishment shall be lost should work not commence this financial year, the Brockley Society shall offer no further objections to the redevelopment of Gordonbrock School".

Anonymous said...

Please also note that this motion, raised by a parent who objects to Broc Soc's action, is not being discussed on Tuesday...

Also before one can raise a motion like this, you've got to sign up to Broc Soc's remit of conservation...hm how does that fit?

Anonymous said...

Can someone confirm that this vote is not taking place on 4th May?

Brockley Nick said...

Are you two anons actually the same anons? Please can you give yourself a name and make your points more clearly, I am not sure what you are trying to say.

Brockley Nick said...

Sorry, now three anons! Possibly the same anon!?

simon Newman said...

The motion is my motion. It will be voted on.

Simon Newman said...

I called for A special general meeting to vote on my motion. I have the support of 50 members as required and my motion was whitnessed by circa 20 people and seconded at the time.

simon newman said...

CONSERVATIONISTS PUT BRICKS BEFORE CHILDREN!

The redevelopment and refurbishment of a South London Primary School has been halted by the actions of a local conservation group. Gordonbrock School in Ladywell was due for major redevelopment starting this Easter. To the shock of parents, pupils and teachers, the plans were canceled at the very last minute following a legal challenge by local conservation group The Brockley Society who are putting the preservation of buildings ahead of the welfare and education of the boroughs children.

Built in 1903, unbelievably the school still has outside toilets, 4 and 5 year old pupils are required to don hats and coats to take a toilet break! Other problems include small overcrowded classrooms, heating problems in winter and excessive heat in summer. The small high Victorian windows are reminiscent of John Browns schooldays not a modern teaching establishment.

The Brockley Society has presented it’s own plans to Lewisham Council and have vowed to fight any redevelopment of the school which do not incorporate their own proposals, yet the Society has no previous experience of School planning or educational management. Unbelievably they are continuing this action despite the Brockley Society twice having preservation order requests turned down by English Heritage who deemed the buildings as not worthy of listed status.

With the impending elections and all political parties declaring their intention to drastically cut public spending, local MP Joan Ruddock stated at a school meeting for concerned parents that it was exceedingly likely that if work did not commence this financial year that budget for the schools improvement will be lost for the foreseeable future, condemning it’s pupils to many more years of a Victorian education experience!

Local parent Simon Newman said “It is unbelievable that anyone could put the preservation of a truly nondescript set of buildings ahead of the welfare and education of our children. Jessica and a lot of the other children actually cried when she was told she was not getting a new school”.

The meeting is on Tuesday at 8pm at: Crofton Park Baptist Church, Brockley Grove, SE4 1EA

Tamsin said...

Isn't this last rather overstating the position? It implies that the Broc. Soc. are presenting plans drawn up just at this last minute on the back of an envelope. I thought that in fact they had ages ago presented perfectly viable alternative plans for the greener and more heritage concious re-use of the buildings prepared by all relevant professionals. The issue with Lewisham being that these had been ignored and over-ridden (something that the Council is quite good at).

Also the situation with regard to the outside toilets is not, I thought, as stated here with rather tabloid stridency.

What is needed is some measured discussion and respect for each others point of view. Something missing on both sides but very clearly absent in the last post.

You can't force a case said...

I think Simon is wrong - the motion may have been raised but not to be voted on at the meeting on the 3rd, however many people he may get to attend. I was at the last Broc Soc meeting also, and there was no agreement tha tthe motion would be voted on at the presentation.

Also doens't Simon realise that although he may be able to force Broc Soc to drop their conservation stance by playing the constitution against them; and individual can (and maybe would) put the same objection in and stop the process.

Simon should be looking to talk with Broc Soc - they are hosting the presentation to attempt to do just that.

Danja said...

It implies that the Broc. Soc. are presenting plans drawn up just at this last minute on the back of an envelope. I thought that in fact they had ages ago presented perfectly viable alternative plans for the greener and more heritage concious re-use of the buildings prepared by all relevant professionals.

Very recently, they drew up a feasibility study which contains rough uncosted ideas, and no idea whether they meet all of the relevant standards. As the March 2010 document itself says:

We are confident that we have offered a solution, at
feasibility stage, which might efficiently be developed
into a successful planning application. At least, we
feel that a refurbishment solution should not be
discounted for design reasons, and that we have
confidently met all aspects of the brief, whilst creating
added value from other enhancements. These include
a design that is more sustainable, is not as destructive,
and that does not place as much disruption on the
shoulders of staff, parents and children.
It is possible that a part refurbishment option will
offer potential cost savings. Despite advice given in
this respect, refurbishment is not necessarily more
expensive than rebuild, and as this design option
develops, cost will be built into the design process
to ensure that the end result offers significant value
for money.


That translates as "we haven't got a clue what this will cost".

Danja said...

It implies that the Broc. Soc. are presenting plans drawn up just at this last minute on the back of an envelope. I thought that in fact they had ages ago presented perfectly viable alternative plans for the greener and more heritage concious re-use of the buildings prepared by all relevant professionals.

Very recently, they drew up a feasibility study which contains rough uncosted ideas, and no idea whether they meet all of the relevant standards. As the March 2010 document itself says:

We are confident that we have offered a solution, at
feasibility stage, which might efficiently be developed
into a successful planning application. At least, we
feel that a refurbishment solution should not be
discounted for design reasons, and that we have
confidently met all aspects of the brief, whilst creating
added value from other enhancements. These include
a design that is more sustainable, is not as destructive,
and that does not place as much disruption on the
shoulders of staff, parents and children.
It is possible that a part refurbishment option will
offer potential cost savings. Despite advice given in
this respect, refurbishment is not necessarily more
expensive than rebuild, and as this design option
develops, cost will be built into the design process
to ensure that the end result offers significant value
for money.


That translates as "we haven't got a clue what this will cost".

Anonymous said...

Simon, no motion was accepted. Sorry but you are not telling a true story.

You really came across, both ath meeting, and now as a bully.

I suggest you stop, because you are not the only one with children in the school. You should at least listen to what Broc Soc has to say.

I, for example, share their views and believe that eventually the Council is at fault for not having followed the procedure and the consultations.

Bored and tired said...

I must say, there have been a couple of anti-broc doc people on here that do themselves no favours as they come across as very self-righteous and unable to listen to others' points of view. There is always the chance that you might end up with something better than originally planned, and poor little heartbroken Jessica will get over it (like, last month). The fake tabloid article was just weird - it must be made up as no self-respecting sub editor would let something with that many errors in it go to press.

simon said...

At the insistence of a number of Gordonbrock parents, the Brockley Society are to host an open meeting for interested parties of the GordonBrock rebuild. This is also a Special General Meeting where a vote shall take place on the following:

"In light of the current economic climate and the certainty that budget for a school refurbishment shall be lost should work not commence this financial year, the Brockley Society shall offer no further objections to the redevelopment of Gordonbrock School".


The Brockley Society has posted the following to it’s members:

------------------------------------

OPEN MEETING
Proposals for refurbishment of Gordonbrock School
Tuesday 4 May, 8pm-9.30pm
Crofton Park Baptist Church
Brockley Grove (cnr Huxbear Street)
SE4 1EA
Brockley Society would like to present its alternative proposals to those of Lewisham council for the modernisation of Gordonbrock School. Working with a number of Gordonbrock parents and our architect, we have sought to demonstrate that there are alternatives to demolition and rebuilding, still achieving all of the goals for the school, and within budget.
We will explain why we intervened, and why so late. There will also be an opportunity for all interested parties to express their views and ask questions.
All welcome.

------------------------------------


The Current Situation:

The Brockley Society served an injunction halting the proposed re-development of Gordonbrock. This succeeded due to the councils failure to submit an Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) with their planning submission for the re-build

The Council is about to completed the EIA and are ready to resubmit their plans for approval. Approval will take in the region of 3 months should there be no further objections.

At a Brockley Society meeting on the 20th April, which a small number of parents attended, the Brockley Society were asked what their intentions were regarding Gordonbrock. The Brockley Society stated that they would do whatever they could to disrupt any re-building of the School that did not incorporate their plans and suggestions for the existing buildings.


The Problem:

Budget for the rebuild is only guaranteed if building starts in this financial year. Anyone who was present at the parents meeting at the school on Thursday 25th March heard both council officials and Joan Ruddock state this to be the case.

Any further legal objections by the Brockley Society to the Councils re-submitted plans will almost certainly delay the project past March 2011. This will almost certainly result in the loss of funding and a postponement of the re-build.

Every Political party in the build up to the forthcoming election has stated that there will be massive cutbacks in public spending for the foreseeable future. Realistically, this will result in a delay to the re-building and refurbishment of Gordonbrock of at least 4 years, if not substantially longer.



YOUR OPINION IS IMPORTANT!

If you believe that the benefits to the pupils welfare and education in the next 4-7 years of a new educational establishment outweigh the preservation of the existing buildings, several of which are actually preserved in the councils existing plans anyway, please attend the meeting on the 4th May to support the following motion:

Tabled to the Brockley Society on the 20th April 2010:

"In light of the current economic climate and the certainty that budget for a school refurbishment shall be lost should work not commence this financial year, the Brockley Society shall offer no further objections to the redevelopment of Gordonbrock School".

This motion is not about who’s plans are best or about the de-cant and the effect it will have on our children for 12 months. It is about improving the welfare and educational facilities of the pupils of GordonBrock as soon as possible and not delaying this beneficial development for the foreseeable future.

simon said...

FAQ’s

Is Funding really going to be lost?
Funding can not be guaranteed if building work does not start this financial year. All parties questioned (Council and Government officials) have stated it is exceedingly likely that the redevelopment of GordonBrock shall be delayed for the foreseeable future should there be any further delays.

What exactly has the Brockley Society Submitted to the council?
The Society has submitted a design proposal. Although it is a detailed proposal, this is not a detailed planning application and has not been costed.

Why might this action mean a delay of 6 months or more?
As a result of the legal challenge it will be necessary for the Council to submit a new planning application. It will take at least 3 months to be considered by Planning staff and, as these decisions may be challenged for a further period of up to 3 months, the Council would not be able to start work on the school for at least 6 months.

The Brockley Society say that their plans are substantially cheaper, is this the case?
The Council has seen no information from the Society on the cost of their proposals although they assert that their plans are cheaper. When the Council met the Society the council indicated that their proposals were not practical, would take longer and therefore would probably be more expensive than current proposals.



What are the major shortcomings of the Society’s proposal?
The proposed classroom layout doesn’t allow flexibility, a number of classrooms are too small, toilets are poorly sited, DDA access doesn’t seem to have been considered and roof spaces are proposed as teaching areas without fire and access issues being resolved. The proposals use more of the site area than the Council’s plans and this reduces the available play space. The design creates blind spots around the building that would be problematic for supervision. More importantly, the proposals put forward by the Society would require a lengthy programme (nearly 3 years) and imply an on-site rolling decant. The council has severe reservations about pupil safety, disruption to teaching and the cost of such a lengthy programme.

simon said...

Can the current building plans be improved?
The existing plans are certainly fit for purpose, represent a drastic improvement on the current school and have been created by education and schools specialists who are experts in their field.




Isn’t the postponement of a re-build worth it if it helps avoid a de-cant?
The proposals put forward by the Society would require a lengthy programme (nearly 3 years) and imply an on-site rolling decant. The council has severe reservations about pupil safety, disruption to teaching and the cost of such a lengthy programme. The presence of pupils at the site when any kind of major building work is undertaken would not be a healthy environment for children and would extend disruption to their education and recreational space to up to three years.

Why is the Brockley Society taking this action and threatening to object further should the council not include at least some of their proposals?
In terms of preservation and conservation, the Brockley Society is acting to preserve the historical interests of the current site. It also believes it’s proposals are cheaper therefore saving taxpayers money. It also believes their proposal is “better” than that of the councils plans.

Does the Brockley Society have existing expertise in School planning, re-development and re-building?
Not as far as we are aware or have been able to ascertain to date.

Doesn’t the Brockley Society’s plans give the children more playground space?
The council planners say this is not true.

What’s wrong with the current school buildings?
Gordonbrock is a good school of which everyone is proud to be associated. However it was built in 1903. Compared to more modern establishments it suffers from heat in the summer and cool in the winter. Natural light is also at a premium. To access many facilities requires a hat and coat in winter. The classrooms are also very small for the number of pupils they host. Also, no official or teacher will ever say this publicly, but a new modern facility will attract greater numbers of applicants when teaching and related posts are advertised, giving the Head a greater choice when selecting new staff. Additionally, the school will grow by 15 pupils each year for the next 7 years. This shall happen regardless of the re-build. This can only result in substantial overcrowding in the near future should re-development not take place.

Is it important that I attend the meeting on the 4th May?
If you believe that Gordonbrock School requires re-development and that the education and welfare of it’s pupils will benefit from new and modern buildings and facilities as soon as possible and should not be delayed any further, YES it is important that you attend.

If you believe that the re-build should be delayed to allow further input by the Brockley Society, even though it will delay any major enhancements to the school for the foreseeable future, YES you should attend.

Anonymous said...

Spam alert!

Anti broc-sockers seem to be using this forum as a vehicle for their own propaganda. Perhaps they should get their own website where the publication of this sort of nonsense would be more appropriate.

Meeting attendee said...

Simon - I'll say it one more time - the Broc Soc open meeting doesnt mention anything about a motion being voted on.You are going to be very dissapointed. Suggest you confimr with Broc Soc.

Bored and tired said...

Simon, I hope that you and your cronies are not going to sabotage the meeting - I, for one, am interested to hear what Broc Soc have to say before i make a considered and informed decision on the matter. we can't have you shouting the odds when people are trying to put their viewpoints across. You've had plenty of opportunity to make your stance very clear. Now it's time for the other side to state their case - i'm sure a lively debate will ensue.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to point out that the meeting on the 4th of May was not even on the BrocSocs agenda until it was requested at the BrocSoc meeting on the 20th April. I believe they had no plans for a public debate prior to that and have seen no mention of even the suggestion by BrocSoc of a Gordonbrock meeting prior to then.

The motion proposed by simon was seconded at that meeting. Yes the BrocSoc are trying to avoid a vote, but the motion was recorded and seconded plus the meeting/Vote is supported by 50+ residents of the Conservation area. Constitutionally
BrocSoc can not avoid a vote on the motion.

What have BrocSoc got to be scared of if they represent the majority?

Why don't they want a vote?

Because they know public opinion is not with them on this issue.

Democracy? I think it is!

curious said...

Genuine question: who and what are the Brockley Society? What / who do they represent? How many members do they have? What (if any) powers do they have...?

Anonymous said...

Curious - have a look at their website which is linked on BC on the right. That should give you some of the answers.

Anonymous said...

Constitutionally Broc Soc may not bwe able to avoid a vote on the issue. However, constitutionally it does not have to be at the meeting on the 3rd.

BTW - you haven't said what you will do if a private member of the public puts in legal action - you cant use the same tactics of swamping a meeting with your supporters to change a vote

Lep Recorn said...

I am just a little confused about Broc Soc's scome and interest.

I believed that Broc Soc's remit is the conservation area and that Gordonbrock is outside the conservation area. If this is the case, why are they interfering with issues that are outside their remit.

(I would much rather they spent what energies they have in enforcing conservation area rules.)

(And just for the record I am a conservation area resident and so do have an interest.)

Anonymous said...

Taken form their website:

"Officially we cover the Brockley Conservation Area and are here to help protect our homes, streets and parks from unsympathetic or damaging development.

Unofficially, we take an active interest in the whole Brockley community and do what we can to make a difference."

More details in their constition which is on their website.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, I've got a sneaking suspicion that the above quote taken from their website has been updated recently! I'm sure it used to say that their remit was the conservation area only. And what DO they do? They certainly don't seem to do much about the ubiquitous flouting of the conservation in the CA and now they've turned their attention to something that is only 'unofficially' within their remit! Maybe they should concentrate on 'official' business and we might get somewhere. They should be reporting CA rules-flouters to the council - they'd have their work cut out with that job alone. Neighbours are often too afraid to do this as they have to live next door to these people and don't wish to fall out with them, so it would be great if an official body did this instead.

Anonymous said...

Also taken from their website - which shows that they have unoffically been working outside the C area for a LONG time.

"What has Brockley Society done in the 34 years since it was founded to make Brockley a better place?



We constantly work with the Council on planning and conservation matters
In 1974 we started a Midsummer Fayre, intended as a ‘village fete’, because people said ‘nothing happens in Brockley’. The Fayre is still going strong, second only to Lewisham People’s Day, run by the council and costing lots of ratepayers’ money. Brockley Society runs the Fayre at no financial cost to anyone, because a lot of hard work is done by many people
We started a Newsletter, delivered free to every house in the Conservation Area. It has won several prizes and continues, three times a year.

We were the first in the Borough to collect waste paper. So recycling started in Brockley!

We ran our own Tree Pruning Service
We researched the Local History and set up two exhibitions and several talks
We campaigned to stop the demolition of St Peter’s Hall and helped to raise funds to maintain it as a Community Centre. We refurbished the building and helped run the centre with new activities. Sadly, it was sold in 2002.
We were the first to realise in 1989 the devastation that the Channel Tunnel Rail Link would cause Brockley and south-east London. We BATTL’d against it, telling the Government that it should be routed through North Kent, under the river, through to Stratford and St Pancras. (to link up with trains from the north.)
In the end, this is what they have done!
We campaigned against the boarding up and sale of Brockley County School on Hilly Fields. We got the building listed and asked that a group of artists should caretake it until a suitable future use was found. Prendergast School soon took an interest and is now a very successful school on its new site.
We campaigned against the closure and sale of Deptford Library and spent three years negotiating its use as a Visual Arts Centre. When the Council finally agreed, the artists, now homeless when Prendergast took over the school on the hill, moved into the listed library building and renamed it Lewisham Arthouse . Another success!
We helped to set up Hilly Fields User Group.
We spent 30 years arguing against residential development in the Mews that would benefit only developers, would be detrimental to the character of the Conservation Area and would add to loss of water resources. The council now agrees! A Bill is going through parliament trying to stop development of gardens, currently designated as Brownfield sites and therefore fair game for the developers. We are ahead of the field!
We got an Article 4 Direction made for the Conservation Area, which includes not concreting over front gardens. This will also help reserve water resources.
We got the council to increase the Conservation Area to include Eastern Road, Coulgate Street and the area around Brockley Station in 1991 and Vicar's Hill and Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery in 2005.
We set up the first Neighbourhood Watch in London with Brockley Police.
We got the Breakspears Arms closed because of drugs and robberies.
We helped to set up The Brockley Sector Working Party to liaise with the Police.
We were the first Police Station Front Desk in London to be run by volunteers.
We still keep the Police Station Open, making Our Brockley a better, safer place to live.
As a Millennium project, we planned, designed, organised grants and oversaw the creation of the Stone Circle and Sundial on Hilly Fields. "

simon said...

Anonymous said...
"Constitutionally Broc Soc may not bwe able to avoid a vote on the issue. However, constitutionally it does not have to be at the meeting on the 3rd.

BTW - you haven't said what you will do if a private member of the public puts in legal action - you cant use the same tactics of swamping a meeting with your supporters to change a vote?"


It is everyones right to object if they what. However this is an organisation of which I am a member and is supposed to be constitutional and democratic.

Danja said...

We were the first to realise in 1989 the devastation that the Channel Tunnel Rail Link would cause Brockley and south-east London. We BATTL’d against it, telling the Government that it should be routed through North Kent, under the river, through to Stratford and St Pancras. (to link up with trains from the north.)

And lost one of SE london's best transport links in the process (taking them at their word that it was them who dunnit). Lovely as St Pancras is it is far less convenient than Waterloo was.

And I don't notice any devastation in East London? (except for the Olympic site but that can't be what they mean).

Tamsin said...

Not quite. My recollection - which seems to be borne out by this Kent Rail was that even when cutting through swathes of already built up SE London the terminus would still be Kings Cross. We would just have the trains thundering up through Crofton Park and Nunhead.

Totally agree that not having it at Waterloo is a real loss (we were quite spoiled for a while), but I suppose, for the country as a whole, it is better north of the Thames.

Hurrah said...

Yes, selfishly I liked having it in Waterloo but actually it makes more sense to have it at St Pancras, links from the north etc. So grateful that the lines didn't come this way. Thanks be to BrocSoc Amen.

Danja said...

Ah OK, I retract my whinge then.

Danja said...

BTW - you haven't said what you will do if a private member of the public puts in legal action - you cant use the same tactics of swamping a meeting with your supporters to change a vote?"

Depends on the formalities of what has been done in the present action and in relation to the December PP decision, but it may well be too late for an individual to start another challenge if Broc Soc withdraw theirs.

It would be sensible for the insurrection to try to pass another resolution that Broc Soc will not sponsor or fund any further challenge in relation to the development.

Anonymous said...

I wonder whether Simon is in reality on the payroll of the Labour party. After all Sir Bullock said clearly that he made his personal pledge to force the school development. how embarassing that they forgot to make the right consultations?

Or is it because they do not care at all about preserving the area?

So Simon can you tell us if you are part of Labour electoral campaign?

It's a shame said...

I think it is sad, that Broc Soc following their remit of conservation, can be derailed by people who have never turned up at a meeting before in their lives; by using their own constitiution against them. Broc SOc might as well pack up shop - because in the future, if you dont like what they are doing - just turn up at their meeting (you dont even have to live in the area) and call for a motion like Simon or Danja suggests.

Don't like them objecting to you your planning application, Mr Developer? Then just turn up and get a motion passed to get them to withdraw it.

Broc Soc aren't just saying no - they are asking people to look at an alternative - one that plenty of parents at Gordonbrock agree with.

If this teaches us one thing, it is for Broc Soc to tighten up its constitiution.

Tressilliana said...

BrocSoc's constitution explicitly says that anyone who lives in the conservation area is a member. The idea presumably was to make it as inclusive an organisation as possible. Of course the work will mainly be done by a small group of committee members, as is the case with most voluntary groups. However, if other members eventually decide that that inner group is on a wrong track those other members are perfectly entitled to turn up at meetings, whether for the first time or not, and say so.

It would be useful to have some firm figures on what the parent body at Gordonbrock thinks, as each side is claiming that they are in the majority. For what it's worth I was talking to a neighbour with a child at the school just last week, and she said that it was her impression that the great majority of parents were not opposed to the council's plans.

Also, there's been mention on this thread of consultation, the lack of which is being suggested as the reason BrocSoc were able to derail the process. I don't think that's right - it's the environmental assessment that wasn't done and that's the basis of the BrocSoc challenge, isn't it?

Its s shame said...

Tressilliana - unfortunately the constitution does not say "that anyone who lives in the conservation area is a member". Its open to anyone who supports its remit of conservatioon. I beleive those who raised the motion do not live in the area.

Blue sky said...

@Its a Shame:
It does say very clearly on the front page of their website 'Every resident in the Conservation Area is automatically a member of BrocSoc', and, like Tressilliana, I have always understood that that is indeed the case.

Its a shame said...

Yes that is true but also the constitution says:

"Membership shall be open to all who are interested in actively furthering the purposes of the Society"

If this was not the case the motion could not have been bought by people who live outside the area. I do wonder though if they really are interested in actively furtherin the purpose of the Socirty

Tressilliana said...

The website statement is at odds with the constitution. But the constitution also says that the main source of income will be recycling paper, although sensibly they also have a provision allowing the committee to look for other sources of income if that dries up (as it will have done since Lewisham started doorstep collection of recycling materials).

simon said...

I am not a member of any political party.

The following is an open letter I have recently sent the Brockley society.

Dear Brockley society,

Firstly, I look forward to hearing your presentation regarding the work the Brockley Society is doing regarding Gordonbrock school. I am aware through my own contacts that you are having regular meetings with Lewisham Council (I heard yesterdays meeting was on the whole positive for both parties) and that they are trying to work constructively with you. This is not "from the horses mouth" so please do correct me if this is wrong.

Secondly, please be assured that I am in no way challenging your involvement with this stage of the project. Plans are still at the consultative stage and shall remain so until Lewisham formally submit their plans for approval.

This is where my concern, involvement and motion kick in. In an ideal world, Lewisham Council and the Brockley Society could argue between themselves for months and no one would really care. Building work would start sometime in the near future and on the whole, the majority would be happy with this. In the grand scheme of things there is no great difference between September, January, April or even September 2011.

However, we are not in an ideal world. Everyone involved in this project knows that if plans are not approved very soon and work does not start this financial year, that the Government grant part of funding will be lost and we will be back to 2006 when the re-build was cancelled due to loss of funding.

2007-2009 were years with increased Government spending on education and the re-build was still delayed for 4 years!

When every political party is pledging to cut public spending for the foreseeable future, how long will it be before funding is available again? Are we looking at 5 years, 10 years? Realistically, it must be more than the last delay of 4 years? Yes no one really knows, but the last cancellation gives an indication of at least 4 years and realistically in a time of reducing not increasing public spending, substantially longer.

simon said...

Additionally, Gordonbrock is to grow by 15 pupils per year for the next 7 years. Its existing classrooms are already full. If the re-build does not take place soon are we not looking at portable classrooms sited in the playground to house the growing population and the associated loss of play area and increased crowding of the little that will remain? How else can the school house an additional 105 pupils, use the halls and cancel PE?

The Brockley Society has already brought a great deal of ill feeling upon itself amongst some parents (yes, not all!) by being the bearer of bad news as rightly or wrongly being responsible for the last minute cancellation of the rebuild. Personally I hold the council responsible for what was an appalling error in their planning application.

The many many parents who had already organised and committed to child care, vacations and time off work for what should have been a 4 week break however tend to point the finger at the Brockley society first. The rights and wrongs of your involvement in the cancellation are now history as far as I am concerned and it is the future that is important. (please don’t use my last comment out of context, I am well aware of the importance of history!)

It was a very interesting experience canvassing for the 50 supporters for my motion/special general meeting and highlighted a general public perception of the Brockley society you may not be aware of. I say this on the assumption you have not knocked on doors in the conservation area recently asking for support for the Brockley Society?

I canvassed Chalsey Road. All 50 Brockley society members who supported my motion were aware of the cancellation of the re-build. I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by this. Few had any connection to the school. Not one of the impartial majority were in support of the Brockley Societys instigation of the cancellation of the re-build. In fact no one at all said anything in the least positive about the Brockley Societys involvement in this matter.

If Chalsey Road residents are typical of the residents of the conservation area, I personally believe any long term delays to the re-build instigated by the Brockley society will do the Brockley society a great deal of harm, which is tragic considering all the very excellent work you do on behalf of all of us. I genuinely believe that the majority of your “Conservation Area Members” want a rebuild/refurbishment to take place and will react very negatively if the Brockley society is deemed to be responsible for a lengthy delay.

Regarding my motion.

May I be clear. My motion is not asking you to cease your involvement with this project. My motion is asking you not to object to the councils plans in any way which could delay the re-build once they are formally submitted for approval.

Why? Because if the Brockley Society mounts another legal challenge to the rebuild and delays it again, it will be impossible for building work to start this financial year. Yes I understand my motion may mean the Brockley society may not be able to achieve all its objectives regarding Gordonbrock and I sympathise with those of you more passionate than I about the existing buildings and future design , but I also think it is more important the pupils get a new or refurbished school now and not risk what will certainly be a delay of many many years.

simon said...

Moving on to the issue of a vote.

I understand your "issue" regarding the vote. However I believe this to be a problem brought upon the Brockley Society by the Brockley society's Officers and is their problem to address. Certainly not at the expense of my motion being presented and voted on at the meeting on the 4th May.

When Clare Cowan asked me at the meeting on the 20th April when we should schedule a meeting to deal with my motion, firstly she raised the constitutional issue of at least one weeks notice in calling a meeting and then suggested the second week of May, at which point I explained I was abroad from the 6th of May to the 16th. I'm sure you will remember this.

You/Clare came back to me with the 4th May.

My motion was seconded at the meeting on the 20th April.

I have put to you in writing that I have the support of 50 members and have offered you a copy of the list. I do in fact have the support of many more members.

In summary, I tabled a motion and a meeting was arranged for the 4th May. I really see no grey areas regarding the facts.

Regards,

Simon

simon said...

Sorry it was so long!

I have no hidden agenda, no political affiliations and no connections to the council. I am a parent of a pupil at the school. The mock tabloid article I thought was good but equally I'm not a writer.

Whoever the person was who called me a bully, well I told my mum. She said she's see your mum at the school gate.

If I didn't come across at my best at the meeting I apologise however I had not slept for 36 hours at the time...... a long story involving a volcanic eruption and a bit of ash!

See you at the meeting,

Simon.

Lep Recorn javascript:void(0) said...

It's a shame 18:42

If I had not voted in the last n general elections and was so incensed by Gordon Brown's comment that I intended to vote. Would you still argue to disenfranchise me?

I have seen nothing which seems to give Broc Soc a clear remit to have strong opinions about this matter.

Furthermore, I would like to ask how much, if any, of Broc Soc's money has been spent on these plans??

(I do think on this tread people should indicate if they are, or are not, resident in the conservation area. And if they do, or do not, have any interest in Gordonbrock.)

(I have no school aged children and my children when they wer of that age did not go to Gordonbrock.)

Jo Armes said...

Why is that charities that profess to serve the public will not allow the public to pass judgment on their activities?

I feel that the Brockley Society does a very good job and I support most of what they do. However, why because I do not support them on this issue does that mean that I can't be a member of the society?

Is it right that only people who live in the conservation area have the right to vote/make decisions about issues that are not within the conservation area? Why is it those who will be directly affected are not entitled to vote?

If Broc Soc's remit covers the whole of Lewisham then all residents of the borough of Lewisham should automatically be members of the society. It's not democratically right that a small, unrepresentative & unelected group make decisions for the rest of us.

Therefore I urge The Brockley Society to permit attendees at 4th May meeting to vote on the motion put forward by Simon Newman.

Anonymous said...

Nit picky I know, but Broc Soc is a Society and not a Charity.

It has a remit which is to help protect our homes, streets and parks from unsympathetic or damaging development. I would argue that it is fulfilling its remit by preventing the partial demolition of Gordonbrook. The fact that it found a legal loophole to make this happen is an indication of how committed they are to their cause.

Membership is automatic to anyone who live in the BC area and "to all who are interested in actively furthering the purposes of the Society".

So if you're not furthering its purposes then you're not really a member (unless of course you live in the BC area - in which case I guess you could have a dissenting view!?!).

Its a shame said...

"If Broc Soc's remit covers the whole of Lewisham then all residents of the borough of Lewisham should automatically be members of the society. It's not democratically right that a small, unrepresentative & unelected group make decisions for the rest of us.
"


Typical response by Jo. They are not making decisons for all of you. They are making decisons based on a conservation remit. Charites are not democracies. Do you think because the NSPCC has control over child welfare in the UK that anyone should be able to join and put in a motion to subvert their activities? No, of course not. This is the same.

Jo Armes said...

@Anonymous said...

Nit picky I know, but Broc Soc is a Society and not a Charity.

Further nit picking - it is a charity as it's registered on the charity commission web site

Gordonbrock is not in the CA therefore those who are affected should be allowed to vote when it affects the education of their children

Jo Armes said...

@ its a shame 'Typical response by Jo'

At least I put my proper name and am couteous to other bloggers posts which is more than can be said for you

Brockley Nick said...

Whether you support BrocSoc's actions or not, there are some clear facts:

1. BrocSoc is a charity
2. Anyone who lives in the Conservation Area is automatically a member (regardless of whether they subscribe to the same ideas)

TJ said...

Nick - I think the 'unclear' fact is that the constitution seems to suggest that those outside the conservation are are also members as long as they support the remit of the charity. This is how the motion can be tabled.

Jo - I don't think that parents should automatically have a say in Broc Soc because their children go to the school. Surely parents have been consulted by the school itself. Luckily Broc Soc have called a meeting so that the parents and others can hear why they are objecting.

Robert said...

Just to help to clear things up.

Brockley Society is a registered charity founded in 1974.

Our constitutional objectives, which were last ammended over 20 years ago are as follows:

**********

"The Society is established for the public benefit for the following purposes in the area of the London Borough of Lewisham, which are shall hereinafter be referred to as "the area of benefit".

(i) To stimulate public interest in the area of benefit.
(ii) To promote high standards of planning and architecture in the area of benefit.
(iii) To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in the area of benefit.

Membership:
Membership shall be open to all who are interested in actively furthering the purposes of the Society. All adult members shall have the right to vote at meetings of the Society.

*******

There is no question of where one must live in order to be a member, just a provision that all members must be interested in actively furthering our goals.

Now, I would like to suggest that both Simon, Jo, and others who have posted here have no intention of actively furthering the goals of the Society.

We would like to to have a vote at the Public Meeting on Thursday, but this will be in the context of an excercise in consultation, not policy.

As you can appreciate, a public meeting is not an appropriate place to open the floor to such matters.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for misrepresenting Brock Soc as a Society and not a Charity. I looked it up on the Charity Commission website yesterday but couldn't find it (probably several typos on my part but have found it today on a more carefully typed out search). Nor could I see it registered as such on their website so made the wrong assumption!

Anonymous said...

Oh - and the reason I was looking for it on the Charity Commission website was becasue it provides a financial summary of their income and spending - someone here was asking. Here's the link:

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithoutPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1004245&SubsidiaryNumber=0

Simon said...

Are you aware the head of Gordonbrock has resigned?

We all know what impact losing the head has on the moral of staff and children in a school.

I do support the Brockley society and will happily promote its goals if they are issues I have an opinion on. Would you like me to distribute some leaflets or deliver the newsletter in chalsey road for you? Have I ever complained about any actions previously in my 18 years as a member? You make assumptions I think Rob.

I will not continue a persional conversation on here. You have my number if you would like to speak to me before making any further public declarations regarding my intentions.

wendy said...

Robert, the Brockley Society has always told us that anyone who lives in the CA is automatically a member. There has never been the added stipulation that we must agree with all of the actions of those who lead it.

You say:

"Now, I would like to suggest that both Simon, Jo, and others who have posted here have no intention of actively furthering the goals of the Society."

I would like to suggest that that is utterly wrong. Simon, Jo and others seem to be committed to preventing those who currently lead BrocSoc from wasting their own money and the CA members council tax and damaging the reputation of the Society jeapordising the funding for a new school building that would benefit many of us who live in the CA and have children and give school children more space to play in than your plans would.

It is perfectly right for them to put their case to the members - ie all of us, not just those who agree with you.

Tressilliana said...

I am very, very sorry to hear this, Simon. Good luck to Gordonbrock in finding a new head because it's increasingly a thankless task which fewer and fewer teachers want to take on.

Jo Armes said...

@ Robert 'I would like to suggest that both Simon, Jo, and others who have posted here have no intention of actively furthering the goals of the Society'

I think you are being presumptuous about my intentions - I have already stated that I think you do a good job and I support your work. However I disagree with you on this one issue does that mean I can't vote? Or are you saying that people have to be in complete agreement with you to vote?

The fact is you are disregarding you own constitution by not permitting a vote on the motion put forward by Simon Newman. All correct broc soc procedures have been followed as laid down in your constitution. What does that say about the Brockley Society? I can only see that you are bring it into disrepute.

Brockley Nick said...

Please can someone contact me with confirmation of that story? If true, it's an important story that needs reporting. I cannot see any mention of it on their website. Thank you.

Tressilliana said...

The school website reports it in the weekly newsletter today, Nick. She's going to be Head at another school.

http://www.gordonbrock.lewisham.sch.uk/images/linksandpics/Weekly%2030_4_10.doc

Bored and tired said...

I am not the parent of a child at gordonbrock but have heard some parents talking about the resignation this evening so although I can't officially confirm, It is certainly what everyone seems to be disussing! After eavesdropping I checked here to see if anyone had mentioned it, and they had, so I think we can be fairly sure it's true.

simon said...

HELP

PLEASE COME TO A MEETING
TO SUPPORT THE REBUILD OF
GORDONBROCK SCHOOL.

Gordonbrock School needs re-development. The education and welfare of its children will benefit from a new building with modern facilities as soon as possible. The already overcrowded school is growing by 105 additional pupils in the next 7 years. Further delays will mean the rebuild will NOT happen in the foreseeable future due to public spending cuts.

The Brockley Society which claims to be representing YOU and has already stopped the rebuild once, has vowed to halt the re-development should it not preserve 3 of the existing buildings despite English Heritage twice rejecting applications for listed status and despite the fact that Joan Ruddock confirmed budget WILL BE almost certainly LOST if work does not start this year.

The rebuild was due to start at Easter this year. The Head of 7 years, who was committed to managing the school through the re-build resigned this week. The cancellation was the second time this has happened to her, the planned rebuild in 2006 being cancelled when the council lost funding; in a time of increased public spending this caused a 4 YEAR DELAY!

For more information read the fact sheet at the school gate.
There is a public meeting of the Brockley Society on:

Tuesday 4 May, 8PM
at
Crofton Park Baptist Church
Brockley Grove (corner of Huxbear Street)

If you care about the welfare and education of the children of Brockley please attend this meeting and support the school. Budget for the re-build WILL be lost if work does not start this year.

simon said...

Anyone with views regarding this matter and can not attend Tuesdays meeting should e-mail:

chair@brockleysociety.org.uk

Anonymous said...

I SUPPORT THE BROCKLEY SOCIETY!!!

Sorry Simon, but your political tactics are obtaining the opposite result.

Go and talk to Mr Bullock if the Council has not handled the planning correctly.

Regarding the increasing number of pupils in the furture, according to Ofsted “Gordonbrock is (already) a larger-than-average primary school with a nursery as part of its Early Years Foundation Stage provision.”

So lobby the Council for the construction of a new school rather than enlarging this one, that is a campaign we would all support for sure.

Tressilliana said...

Where would you put a new school in SE4, Anon? Lewisham has a shortfall of 500 reception places for this autumn - new schools take years and years to get up and running. The statutory procedures for increasing the number of pupils at Gordonbrock have already been completed. The new building was planned over a period of several years to make better use of the site than the current layout and involves keeping some of the existing buildings. Going on in the old buildings with portakabins will greatly reduce the playground space.

Simon is clearly very exercised by this issue and I don't blame him. If my children were still at Gordonbrock, so would I be.

Anonymous said...

So Tresilliana the 500 pupils shortfall has materialised overnight I guess...

I do not recall seeing you and Simon campaigning when this problem came about.

Kids are much more resiliant then their parents and their education will barely be affected by a period of decanting.

There was a time when people thought that hurdles and adversities were a good way to form the character of children.

Now it seems that going to the bathroom outside the building will destroy their entire future.

Perhaps a little less playstation in the evening may counterbalance the shortfall of the school decanting.

Monkeyboy said...

It's 2010 and you thing outside bogs are acceptable and 'character building'? Why not turn off the heating too, would also save a few quid and free up some money for canes to beat them with.

Anonymous said...

Is all this fuss over outside toilets then?

Wow. Amazingly, the world continues to turn...

When I was growing up people had to spend over an hour on the bus travelling 20 miles to get to school in the mornings (and, of course, back in the evenings).

What you should expect as a parent is to have a school for your child to go to within reasonable distance. 2 miles is absolutely nothing and those of you using that as a reason to complain should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

The gentle civic sensibilities of Broc Soc are probably healthy, up to a point. With their meddling in this issue this point has probably been met.

An elected council and mayor have been selected to deal with these difficult issues. The Nimby Stasi, should get out of their way if they have nothing positive to contribute. Our children have enough challenges without us prioritising a few indifferent clapped out buildings over their future. Nostalgia is the sweetest vice of the old, but in the nostrils of the young it smells like death.

Monkeyboy said...

Why is what you had to endure at school twenty years ago relevent? Our music made us play folk music, no one should have to cope with that in the 21st Century.

Monkeyboy said...

...actually forget i said that. I'm just making trouble....ciao

Anonymous said...

Makes me rather ashamed to live in the conservation area. These people don't represent me, or most of my neighbours. They have over reached themselves this time, and should wind their necks in.

Anonymous said...

... and while they're at it, they can shut up about Sky dishes too *slams fist*

Anonymous said...

This thread is so funny - Simon and Jo are going to have coronys, everyone is having a good dig at Broc Soc - and nobody seems to be talking to each other.

Get round a table, all of you, with the council that have caused this.

Oh - and someone (maybe Simon) has printed out Simon's rant here and been attaching it to trees and lamposts throughout the conservation area. Apart from it littering - I don't think most of us could really care less

Anon too said...

Anon, you have a point. All the grown ups are blowing gaskets, meanwhile the children are absolutely fine!
I won't be going to the meeting, I don't want to view Simon's motion.

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