Gordonbrock plans delayed by minimum of 6 months, Prendergast plans revealed

Cllr Sue Luxton has confirmed on the Green Ladywell blog the news she posted in one of the threads on here yesterday - the rebuilding work on Gordonbrock School has been delayed by six months due to a legal challenge mounted by BrocSoc.

The headteacher has already warned that such a delay could throw the entire renovation project in to doubt.

Sue writes:

I found out today that the decant and rebuilding programme for Gordonbrock School has been delayed by six months due to a legal challenge by Brockley Society. I heard from Council officers on Tuesday evening that a delay was likely, and letters were sent home to parents yesterday confirming this. I understand that Council officers and Brockley Society representatives will be meeting next week to discuss the legal challenge, and hopefully more will become clear after that. There will also be a meeting for parents at the school soon, date tbc.

Also on the site is the news that Prendergast Hilly Fields is organising a drop in session for the public to view its redevelopment plans:

The plans involve demolishing and rebuilding the existing buildings at the lower site on Adelaide Avenue, and refurbing the existing listed building on Hilly Fields "in line with English Heritage guidelines".


Anonymous said...

Sue hasn't replied to my previous post so thought I'd put it here as someone has been kind enough to start a new post

@Sue said...Jo, yes, I do have a comment - I realise you are angry at this week's

Jo writes
Glad to hear The Green Party does not support BrocSoc's action.

What about you and the other green ladywell councillors? I note you omitted to tell us where you stand - why don't you tell us in plain words that even simple little me can understand.


Anonymous said...

I understand that the delay is due to a major error in Lewisham's planning process. Can anyone clarify what this is?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the basis of BrocSoc's objection is?

Anonymous said...

Ah, having looked at Sue's site I see that she says: 'the challenge is to do with whether or not the Council carried out an environmental impact assessment as part of the planning process.'

Anonymous said...

Can any one tell me how to get in touch with The Brockley Society? Do they have an email address?

Anonymous said...

I think their website is www.brockley.com/brocsoc

Anonymous said...

By the way, it's PrendeRgast not Prendegast.

Anonymous said...

If that's what the legal challenge is based on then sounds like a spoiling tactic rather than something more substantive. All's fair in love and war.

VAL said...

Why is redevelopment a 'war'? What is wrong with 'improving' Prendergast?

Anonymous said...

This is a wrecking plan. It's the small but noisy few who seem to take great satisfaction in spoiling the school's plans. What a bitter way to live your life. Brockley Society have covered themselves with shame over this. I've never had any dealings with them before, but often presumed they were a force for good, with a sense of civic pride and community suoport. They're clearly not.

Anonymous said...

Brocsoc has gotten too big for its rather small boots.

Jen said...

I attended one of the Brocsoc's meetings and witnessed one of its members, who never stopped going on about how hard 'I work' for Brockley, call a concerned resident a 'jerk' and a 'pratt'. And this a senior member. The resident, who had only suggested they should not dig their noses into everything, rightly left them to it. As did I. I never went back. It was like watching kids with a train set hooked on power.

The Oracle said...

People should not confuse the few with the many.

Brocsoc does not speak for me either. But they have over the years done some great things.

Perhaps they have lost it a bit though.

Paddyom said...

I dont think they should demolish the old scholl but instead renovate and improve the buildings to achieve a modern school building. So i back BrocSoc on this one.

Anonymous said...

Why have BrocSoc gone quiet? Having set themselves up as the saviours of Gordonbrock School why won't they answer legitimate questions from Gordonbrock parents? What are they trying to hide.

I've emailed and texted them but no response! Come on Brocsoc what are you trying to hide?


Reg said...

@BrockleyKate. Brocsoc's objection is...err...let me think now.

Danja said...

Far from guaranteed that will be the end result, and this is a pretty high stakes approach.

Anonymous said...

To all Brocsoc Members: WE MUST FIND AN OBJECTION.

But where?

I don't know... just find one!

Err, perhaps we can object to progress...?

Concerned said...

Personally got no objection to the interior of the old building being brought up to modern standards, within the Victorian shell.
What's the name of the person who doesn't actually live in the area? I would like to know the motivation behind keeping an eye on it? (I used to live in Hampstead, but I don't see the need to maintain a link there but some people can't let go I guess.)

Anonymous said...

I fully suport Broc Soc on this one! Great work - keep it up.

Harry Hill said...


Oh, you already are. Carry on kids.

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that it was only a handful of parents who were against this rebuild and their reasons weren't architectural ( that was just a red herring to get the attention of the Broc Soc), they just didn't want their kids to be bussed to another school while Gordonbrock was being improved.

Selfishness which has potentially robbed future generations of kids of the opportunity to learn in decent, modern surroundings.

And I hope that Sue will distance herself from these protesters when she understands that the majority of parents were prepared to make a short term sacrifice for the long term benefits of many children.

VAL said...

'The Brocsoc' are just a mere handful of people - one of whom does not in fact live in Brockley -but follows a Moses-like agenda on behalf of planning, or not. The other is a builder who scares off anyone else who doesn't agree with his 'hands off Brockley' (and wider) remit.
If the 'many' give way to the few like that then that's what you get.
And that's from a person who DOES not give way to the few and DOES get involved.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

i have been removed from the savegordonbrockschool facebook group - presumably because I put forward the dissenting views of gordonbrock parents. Good to know Brocsoc believe in debate and demoncracy. They won't even come to the school to defend their actions to the parents despite repeated requests.

Robert said...

The reason you have been removed from the Facebook Group is because you have sent me a threatening email, and then posted where my children go to school on this board - which thankfully, has since been moderated.

Is that kind of intimidation your idea of democracy?

Paddyom said...

Why shouldnt we as taxpayers who will pay for the renovation not demand that our hertitage is incorporated into the finished product? If we can put a man on the moon, surely we can design a modern new school which respects the historical buildings which are already on the site. Not bulldoze 100 years of history to make way for a glass box. For once Lewisham Council has actually made a decent planning decsion (words i never thought id say). Bravo to Brocsoc and please continue to protect this beautiful Victorian suburb!

Anonymous said...

Dear Rob

What is threatening about being asked why you won't come to the school to answer our questions. I think it's a perfectly reasonable request.

What is threatening about being asked to send me the list of Brocsoc officers, the constitution and terms of reference for Brocsoc - sure this should be freely available.

I reiterate my question
When will someone from Brocsoc come and explain to the parents their actions and give them an opportunity to ask questions?

angelofthewest said...

i'm glad that none of you participating in this "debate", and/or egging each other on to "fight", are my parents. You are all, on all sides of this question, behaving as poorly as each other. Robert I hope you reported the threats to the police.

Blue sky said...

Jo, while I admire the passion with which you're fighting, and although (based on what I've read so far) I feel you are right to be angry, you're starting to sound like a raving lunatic. You need to tone it down if you want to be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the above post

Jo does have some valid points though. BrocSoc complained that they weren't consulted prior to the re-build decision being made yet BrocSoc consulted no parents before making their legal bid to stop the rebuild.

And nobody from BrocSoc was at the school to explain their actions to the ( very upset in some cases) parents yesterday. There are parents at the school this afternoon who are very angry with BrocSoc. I can only wonder what affect this will all have on the staff and kids at the school.

And, Paddy, it's Edwardian not Victorian, and some of the original buildings were to have been retained anyway.

Anonymous said...

what you're hearing is my frustration that brocsoc will not come personally & explain their actions to the parents.

Similarly, the parents who participated in pulling together the legal challenge won't identify themselves.

I will tone it down (& stop sounding like a raving lunatic!) but I won't stop asking brocsoc to come and talk to us personally - i think that is the least they can do considering all the grief they've caused.


Anonymous said...

Having listened to both sides of the argument and looked at both sets of plans it's clear that the proposals put together by Brockley Society and the parents who back it are much better.

They're the least destructive and disruptive, meet the brief and avoid knocking down buildings, carting them off to landfill and bussing children for 18 months (it cost £900 a day at Ashmead).

I also know that Brockley Society has repeatedly asked to meet the Governors, Lewisham Council and Head Teacher so that they could present their proposal to them and the parents, so that parents could have a choice. But they have been repeatedly ignored.

They also served a pre-action letter on Lewisham Council giving them (and the School) 14 days to meet with them to discuss the proposals before serving an injunction. This only expired today, so Lewisham Council and the School could have averted this impasse by agreeing to meet before now.

Apparently, the reason an injunction could be served is because Lewisham Council failed to follow its own guidelines in the consulatation and planning process.

Anonymous said...

I would like to check whether the BrocSoc are acting according to their constitution and terms of reference.

I am publically requesting a copy of the BrocSoc's constitution (1974) and terms of reference - I have been requesting this since yesterday but nobody at BrocSoc will send it to me. I would a list of the officers so I know who to address my emails & letters to.

SMH said...

So the 'debate' such as it was is no longer about the merits of the relevant schemes but about trying to defeat the 'opponent' by any other means you can find.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot at stake here - the money to rebuild the school may not be available in 6 months time. So to be honest the relative merits of the two schemes are immaterial in a sense. It's about whether the school gets rebuilt or not.

Isn't BrocSoc trying to defeat the opposition by employing a planning solicitor to go over Lewisham's planning application with a fine tooth comb? I think it's reasonable to question whether they have extended themselves beyond their self-appointed remit.

lulu68 said...

I am very disappointed that the planning department has let the staff and pupils of Gordonbrock School down. I am saddened by BrocSoc's approach, how many of it's members have children at the school? It is not acceptable for our children to be educated in buildings not fit for purpose and don't even get me started on the outside toilets, perhaps some of the BRocSoc members would like to trade places with my children and understand that sometimes we have to move with the times and not keep the original buildings.

Mezzer said...

I've become very interested in this discussion, but really do think that those with views on this should not be posting as anons.

Anonymous said...

why is it that brocsoc, normally so vocal on everything to do with brockley, are silent?

Anonymous said...

Mezzer - those ANONS are probably all the same person!

Not me though, I'm different.

Anonymous said...

I'm someone who loves Victorian and Edwardian architecture. But when it comes to schools educational objectives should always take precedence over heritage objectives. I didn't think that the Gordonbrock refurbishments plans were perfect by any means but I am deeply upset by this delay. Parents and kids don't deserve this.

Cllr Darren Johnson
Green Party - Brockley Ward/London Assembly

Anonymous said...

Darren, I am surprised that you would come here to express your opinion in such a way.

Deserve what precisely?

The chance to have an open debate about an issue that has been a closed shop until this point?

Don't think I'll be voting Green in the forthcoming elections now.

lulu68 said...

We try to bring our children up to be polite, caring, well rounded individuals. The staff at Gordonbrock, have done a wonderful job of preparing the children - informed them that a new school has to be built and why, they have tried out the buses that will take them to and from the temporary site, they have been involved in a number of art projects, and they will be part of the school's history. Part of the school will be renovated, and although there are aspects that will not meet everyone's ideal criteria this move MUST happen. If it does not happen we are confusing the younger children and giving all the children mixed messages.
I am very angry that BrocSoc have been given the opportunity to play God with my children's education.
Sleep well.

Anonymous said...

Jo - you sound hysterical. INstead of deanding that BrocSoc volunteers return your demands for constitiutions and their officers names, why not go on their website and look at their contacts page. Oh, look here, I'll post you the link.

Although you have a different opinion to Broc SOc, you should realise that they are just fulfilling their remit , as you are as a parent, or Lewisham as an education provider. THey don't need to have kids at the school to have a valid opinion. I don't have kids at any school, but as a tax payer am very interested in this arguement. I was neutral on this - but you are really doing your cause no favours.

Anonymous said...

Is that comment really by Cllr Johnson? Surely someoene else put that there? I can't believe he would support a few vocal parents over due process, consultation, and the wider community views. I don't think educational objectives (and such contested ones) should take precedence over heritage.

Election year? If this is there attitude to conservation, the Greens just lost another vote (and yes I DID vote for them last time). Remember Darren we choose to live in a conservation area for a reason. It is likely to be a priority for us.

Anonymous said...

I'm also dissapointed in Cllr Johnson's comments.

Way to go to represent the interests of your constituents, and more fan to the current hysteria.

If it is him, I wonder if he was on the sauce again last night?

Anonymous said...

"I don't think educational objectives (and such contested ones) should take precedence over heritage."

i do, this sounds like the BoJo bendy bus argument. Keep the route masters because they look cute

Get a grip said...

Cllr Johnson represents brockley which include the conservation area not the other way round. Decisions like this are rarley black and White with an obvious answer. He feels that on balance it should go ahead for the longer term benifit of ALL in his ward. Some perspective is needed here.

It's interesting that it's only the Greens are brave enough to have an opinion. Vote for someone else if you like, I'm sure they'll feed you some soothing words if you let them know which side of the fence you're on.

Are there actually two arguments here? The conservation one (spurious in my view) and the decant one? Which would cause me more concern

Tressilliana said...

It really would help a lot to follow this debate if people would give themselves a name. It doesn't have to be a real one - people may be surprised to hear that Tressilliana isn't the name on my birth certificate.

Consultation: this is a tricky one. Children attend a school for a few years but the buildings are likely to be there for a long, long time. The children and staff are the ones who have to work in the buildings but the local residents have to look at them, and the council has to pay for them (using our money). Fair enough to inform parents, but they certainly shouldn't be given any final say over what happens, because they aren't the only ones with an interest, and (perfectly understandably) parents do tend to look at any issue like this from the point of view of their own child. Finally, parents elect governors and often the LEA and community governors are also parents at the school. So there is already a substantial parental input into decisions like this.

Robert said...

I agree regarding anonymous posts, and Robert is the name on my birth certificate.

I think people are upset with Councillor Johnson as his remark is not particularly constructive in this case.

We are now at the stage where the discussion has been reopened. Those involved in the campaign, myself included, have worked very hard to get to this point - after many months of banging on doors and getting no answer.

Councillor Johnson's remarked implied that people should shut up, sit down and do what they are told, rather than attempt to put any valid arguments across when they have not been asked for them.

There is a significant difference in opinion here over what is best for the school, best for the children and best for Brockley. It is his job to facilitate the process of discussion, not encourage rabble rousing.

Blue sky said...

Darren Johnson's comment is definitely his but it wasn't necessarily posted here by him - it's a direct lift from his own blog, I see.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the BrocSoc's proposal, if carried through, would offer a solution that would keep everyone in this heated debate happy, so everyone should at least give it a look.

Anger should not be directed at BrocSoc for putting the time and effort into trying to get the best for everyone. Those who were happy with the Planning scheme that feel the need to direct their anger at someone should be asking Lewisham questions about how they managed to fail so badly in getting this school built.

Brocsoc do not seem to have taken advantage of any 'loopholes' or used 'spoiling tactics' as suggested. The lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment (a substantial and important piece of work) in the planning application just shows that they approached the planning process in the same careless way they did the design process. Our children may be at this school for a few years, but the school will stand for many decades and we should not be fobbed off with such a poor effort.

I know little about BrocSoc before this week but I am glad that there is a body in the community that will actively push the Council to give our community what it deserves.

Paddyom said...

Is it just me that doesn't understand what was so awful with the Green councillors comment? Was hardly that bad in fairness so please calm down peoples. I guess there are two sides of the fence on this topic; one is the parents and those concerned with educational facility standards and the other; is those more concerned with protecting our historical buildings and brockleys heritage. There has got to be a way to modernize the buildings without dolishing them surely?
has it really got outdoor toilets? Surely it's just a toilet block not directly connected to the main school building? In which case big deal, the more time kids spend outdoors the better. ;)

Monkeyboy said...

Doh! Paddy! That was a joke right? Workplaces or school in the 21st century should have indoor crappers. Other than that I steering clear of this one.....

Anonymous said...

I've just spoken to a specialist in planning. He tells me this environmental assessment is a little trick that is oft abused. And catches the planners out. As its something that is a "Shysters Law". It's an unmanageable piece of legislation that is open to be used by anyone as a spoiling tactic.

You can like the Brocsoc plans. you can love them. But they're not real. They never will be. Because these have been drawn up as part of "the planning game".

That one person thinks another architect’s design is better than another is not the debate.

One design had been passed by many concerned parties AND it had the money to make the plans a reality. This is not Grand Designs. This is not one person's vision being driven through at all costs, this was a compromise there's not doubt about that. But when it comes to a project of this magnintude, compromise is the only way forward.

It would have been a reality. It would have given us a new school with proper sized classrooms. And other modern facilities. This woudl have been a modern school. Gordonbrock is not a modern school. The staff and pupils struggle. In 18 months they woudl have been returning to a wonderful new place. Their new place. Not Brocsocs.

A place that has responsibilities and challenges. A focus for the local community.

Gordonbrock has a really positive atmosphere depsite the decrepit Edwardian interiors.

So, this is the biggie... why on earth would Brocsoc wish to destroy this?

It doesn’t matter who has the best plans. The best plans are those that have the support of mainstream. Without that support they’re just plans, pipedreams.

Give me a ruler and a pencil and I’ll draw up some plans that form and “alternative” to Brocsoc’s architects. What does that make me? Sad? Bored? Smug? All three. Or worse???

Brocsoc should now stop this action and apologise.

Telling you straight. said...

It has been mentioned many times that contributors to this debate give themselves some form of ID. You clearly don't read or considers others views. Why should we pay you the courtesy?

hillbilly said...

When is Sue Luxton going to tell us whether she supports Brocsocs action or not?

Anonymous said...

You should ask yourself the question, if this is a planning trick that is so "oft" abused, then why were Lewisham so quick to give in to it?

Maybe they were looking for a way out?

Perhaps poor old BrocSoc have become a convenient scapegoat for townhall incompetitence.

mat said...

There are lots of things wrong with the current plans. They have been presented as the only option. The planning seemed very rushed through and although the architects said they had consulted, this referred to consultation some five years previously. The planner's hands were tied because as everyone said, the previous plans, which had approval were worse. The project manager for Lewisham said that if you don't pass these then we'll build the old ones. Yes even with the out of date IT facilities.

The parents who queried at the planning stage why they were not reusing the existing buildings (as by 2009 this would have been compatible with the government's guidelines) were told there was more money now so they were going for demolition; knocking class rooms together would make them too rectangular for modern learning; it was more expensive, and the buildings were not suitable for modern learning. Looking at the Broc Soc Plans show that they are adaptable and can be reconfigured.

So all the reasons for demolition and not working with the old buildings seem to me to be spurious.

M said...

Isn't the big problem too many children being squeezed onto one site? The original plan looks as though it has a brief which is more about management than inspired education.

Anonymous said...

I applaud Broc Soc, bothering to show that the refurbishment is a viable option. I can see the anxiety about loosing any investment in the school, but their plans do look good. Impressed how legible they are. Is there a 3D model of the one that went into planning, I can't find anything on planning portal.

Wrong side of brockley said...

The 'plans' brocsoc have put in their glossy document are not fully worked up. They are an 'artists impression' and do not meet DFEE requirements for schools.

After the last failure to rebuild the school Lewisham and the school governing body worked extensively whith an architectural firm to explore the possibilities of refurbishing rather than rebuild. So brocsoc are not the first people to have considered it. Current plans retain half of the original plans thus maintaining a historical link. School rovide a public function which is to provide an environmental that promotes childrens learning. They are not architectural museums.

So to reiterate a previous post:
Why would brocsoc want to spoil the chances of chhildren Being educated in a building that isn't crampt, cold and decrepit?

Anonymous said...

The buildings are too hot if you ask me. Yes, I have been in the school lots many years.

Back to post about children being prepared for decant. The staff did a wonderful job. But I wasn't nearly as shocked when I heard it was postponed as when I got the letter last year saying it was happening. There was no preparation then. We were going to be out by Christmas. This was obviously a lie, as there was never a site ready for the large number of children. Not once in the last few years did I think this upheaval was on the cards. The first rebuild was not going to be like this, why would I think this one would be.

Selfishly now I am very relieved it is postponed and my child in year 6 is very happy. He has really enjoyed his time there and no doubt he'll be recounting fond experiences of cold loos for many years to come.

I am saddened by the type of letters coming from the school about Brockley Soc. If there was 2 weeks to discuss why didn't the council take the opportunity. The plans seem to match the old ones, just within the shell of the building.

It is obvious that they aren't preserving a museum, otherwise they wouldn't be loosing the wonderful halls for the sake of larger classrooms.

Anonymous said...

Wrong side of Brockley.....there is no need to 'reiterate a previous post' and ask 'Why would BrocSoc want to spoil the chances of children being educated in a building that isn't crampt, cold and decrepit?' because this question is ridiculous and borderlining on stupid.

The reason you cannot answer this question is because that is clearly not BrocSoc's objective.

I am as disappointed as everyone that we have been preparing for this decant only for it to be delayed....again! But from what I remember of the previous plans to refurb, they were not nearly as ambitious as BrocSoc's new proposal.

If we have to wait six months while the planning application is corrected and in the meantime these new proposals are given further time to develop, I am sure funding will be available whichever direction the council chose to take. Something needs to happen to the school and it won't stay as it is for too long.

Monkeyboy said...

I've not got kids, don't know the details of the various proposals so I'm neutral on the proposals but I do see how capital spend is dealt with in public infastruture projects. There is always a mad panic at this time of year to get money allocated or ringfenced for works, the end of the financial year thing (a bad situation but that's reality) coupled with that is the compete turmoil of the financial markets and possible new local and national administrations may mean the tap is turned off before contracts are let. Careful what you wish for. It's not a great way to make decisions but funding sources are a real factor in arriving at a way forward.

Tressilliana said...

To my certain knowledge, it was 1998 when Lewisham first started talking about how to fund major capital work at Gordonbrock. I understand that when Lewisham dropped G from the PFI scheme, it promised that as soon as money could be found G would head the list for new/refurbished buildings. If BrocSoc had had its finger on the pulse, it should have known all that. It surprises me to find that parents who've been associated with the school for a few years didn't know it either. Surely the time to start lobbying for a refurb rather than a rebuild was way back then?

Robert said...

The thing is - we've spoken to parents and governors who were promoting a refurb at the time, who unlike you, were horrified by demolition and decant plans.

Their opinions were ignored at the time and most just gave up, thinking they they couldn't do anything about it. Better to that way than get yourself worked up over something you cannot influence anyway.

You are right though. BrocSoc didn't have their finger entirely on the pulse - something we are going to have to get better at in future.

Jon Johnson said...

Been away for a couple of days and catching up. Great to see Darren Johnson (no relation) is a bit miffed with Broc Soc's actions. Would be good to see someone out there with some political responsibilities, (our green Ladywell councillors for instance) putting some pressure on Broc Soc to WITHDRAW the challenge. They've made their point and we understand the love they have for historic buildings, but surely even they must understand that if they don't WITHDRAW the challenge. the cash will have dried up and every time they the kids go to the crumbling outside loos they will have the Brockely Society to blame. We could even get some Broc Soc loo paper made to remind them http://www.printedtp.com/

Anonymous said...

It seems as though there are a lot of people out there happy for the council to disregard the rules. Ultimately they are the ones at fault.

If you are spending millions, best to get it right. If we were more accountable for the money we wouldn't be so keen to spend it badly.

Can see the reason to panic too.

mat said...

Were not the council given two weeks to respond and chose not to?

Anonymous said...

Jon Johnson - I think the parents care more about the loos than the kids. I managed fine in a Victorian primary school with outside loos - and that wasn't so long ago.

And as for the councillors bringing pressure on Broc Soc - I think that would be very inappropriate. A public official putting pressure on a community organsiation to change their opinion and fall into line with the council? I would think that if it were a community organsiation that you were part of, you wouldn't care for your suggestion too much

Anonymous said...

Several times in these comments people are deferring the core issue and complaining about anonymity.

The Broc Soc feasibility report has a list of comments on its back pages that are littered with anonymous quotes.

You are very good politcians I'll give you that.

Also, given the fervour in your acerbic replies who'd want to be identified to you lot?

You are bullies.

Let's have some sense said...

Didn't quite follow that one: who are bullies? Don't really think anyone is bullying anyone here.

Lea said...

I have been reading most of the comments regarding Gordonbrock school.

Here is a summary of what my thoughts on the matter are:

1. Some parents felt they were not consulted on the rebuild. I think they must've been asleep most of the time as I knew about the plans, the drawings were in one of the halls for a long time and the headteacher is always available to consult the parents on any matter. If they were not happy they should've been more proactive in talking to the school.

2. Some parents (who usually arrive to school late) could not be asked to bus their children to school so they came up with a fab idea. The idea was: Let's hook up with the BrocSoc and get them to design a plan that will involve no buses. The BrocSoc appointed an architect, who never consulted the headteacher or the senior staff about the school needs, and designed a feasibility plan, which involved no demolition of any of the buildings, but instead they are proposing to keep the children at school, whilst they are building new buildings there. I guess they have bypassed any research on noise pollution, never mind the hazard and dirt this would cause. I certainly would not want my child to learn in such an environment. Furthermore, I would not want someone to design my loft without stepping a foot in my house and consulting me on what my needs are.

3. The BrocSoc then had a petition (inside the school!) and got some parents to sign it as well as some local residents. Not all the parents were aware of their actions at this stage. As far as I am concerned it was all a bit hush hush.

4. The bottom line - their original complaint of not being consulted by the school on the design was what they all did to other parents in Gordonbrock, which is not consulting them on The BrocSoc design. Looks like double standards to me!

5. I guess they could not do much with their feasibility plan or submitted it too late, they decided to find something else and looked at the plans from 5 years ago and probably realised hey, there is a glitch - the Environmental Impact Assessment was done only once instead twice, let's use it and threaten the school and the Council with the injunction.

6. Probably not aware of what they will cause, they went ahead and essentially deprived my children of a new school, which we desperately need. 8 days before the start of the works! Fantastic timing!

7. The issue now is that we may or may not lose the funding and that would be a complete disaster!

8.I think it should've been BrocSoc people who told the kids that their 'Not fit for purpose' school will have to fit for a bit longer, rather than the teachers. I wonder how they would react to seeing the kids sad/surprised/disappointed faces.

9. All that hard work wasted due to some selfish people. Des Sampson (a parent of two children at Gordonbrock and BrocSoc member) has expressed on a number of occasions his own personal reasons for the BrocSoc movement and I think that that is unacceptable.

10. The BrocSoc are not replying to any of our questions, e-mails and I wonder why.

11. Most of the comments on this blog supporting BrocSoc are annonymous. I actually don't wonder why!

12. There is a lot of other issues that I could talk about, but I am getting tired of this.

13. At the end of the day, is this about the buildings (by the way they are Edwardian buildings not Victorian) or about our children's education?

One thing is for certain and that is that us parents of Gordonbrock, who are angered by the BrocSoc actions, will not sit pretty and watch the time go by without any reaction. Surely the BrocSoc did not think we will not say or do anything!


Anonymous said...

Re comment from Lea

Were you aware that the current proposals are so poor that they wouldn't have got passed, except for the fact the planning committee (who thought the plans were of "poor design") were informed if they didn't pass them, then the previous plans from 2005 would have to be implemented. These 2005 plans were even worse! All Broc Soc are trying to do is give everyone a school that won't just last 20 years, but will be there for the next few generations of children, not just ours. I personally don't want my children to attend a school that is poorly conceived, poorly built and poorly run.

Anonymous said...

Lea, I am so pleased you read most of the comments. Perhaps read the rest of the comments and you may realise that when you say 'us parents of Gordonbrock' you may not actually be representing the views of all of the parents of Gordonbrock.

Anonymous said...

Re: Lea, point 4
4. The bottom line - their original complaint of not being consulted by the school on the design was what they all did to other parents in Gordonbrock, which is not consulting them on The BrocSoc design. Looks like double standards to me!

I think you are having a problem grasping the fact that there wasn't a proper consultation. The plans put up in the school hall were shoddy and difficult to decipher and because of this it wasn't until the decant meeting in January that many parents were even aware that two buildings were to be demolished. Apparantly there was an audible gasp when this was revealed and this was the moment when some parents decided to exert their democratic right to back Brockley Society's decision to commission a well-thought out feasibility report and present a credible alternative. Blame Broc Soc if you will, but they were up for a democratic debate. Shame the school and council didn't have the stomach for it.
Final point, getting personal may comes across as petty and vindictive. Perhaps you might not realise how that might undermine your points of view.

Mr chillax said...

Why all the hot air everyone. Rebuild refurb whatever it is is dead in the water.

Anonymous said...

Lea - On point 8 - oh please!

Jon Johnson said...

Anonymous said "And as for the councillors bringing pressure on Broc Soc - I think that would be very inappropriate. A public official putting pressure on a community organisation to change their opinion and fall into line with the council?"

It is clearly not about falling into line with the council.

It is the responsibility of ELECTED representatives to act in the interests of the local community where a 'community group' have taken into account only their sectional interests.

It is not clear to anyone yet whether the Broc Soc are working outside of there remit. We do know that the school is outside of the Brockley Conservation area, and they have used there funds as part of this challenge.

This is not now an arcane debate about the merits or demerits of architecture, but about whether or not a school (which has a VERY limited window of opportunity for funding) is fit for educating children in the first half of the 21st century.

This I can guarantee you is NOT part of the Broc Soc's charitable remit.

Tressillian James said...

No Jon, whatever the merits of the surrounding arguments, in this case, the 'anon' was right. You distinctly suggested that the councillors should be "putting some pressure on Broc Soc to WITHDRAW the challenge"

Anonymous said...

I still find myself sitting on the fence as I feel for both sides. It seems to me that if Lewisham put everyone's minds at rest on the funding issue (Sue attempts to do this a little on the Greenladywell blog) then there would be a little less panic.

There is also a misinformed assumption such as put forward by Jon Johnson above that the Brockley society believe the school buildings are fine as they are and 'fit for educating children in the 21st Century', which clearly they don't as they would not go to the extend of hiring an architect to draw up plans to bring them in line.

Regarding BrocSoc's remit. I know little about the group, how it is organised or funded, but this seems to be no more than a distraction to what is really going on.


Brockley Nick said...


From Sue's blog:

"Officers said that a large part of the funding for the work is due to come from council prudential borrowing rather than central government funding which means that, assuming the incoming Mayor after 6th May supports the project, the chances of it going ahead are pretty high and not wholly at the mercy of a new national government."

I would not find that massively reassuring if I was a parent of a child at the school, particularly when the Council is exploring ways to cut its own budget.

The fact is that if you believe that some sort of redevelopment of the school is better than none at all, it is a very high-stakes gamble.

Anonymous said...


You are right, it is not massively reassuring, I wasn't trying to suggest it was.

But let's not form opinions by assuming the worst here.


Michael Jackson RIP said...

Those of you that have raised the issue are quite right. I am very suspicious of those putting arguments forward as Anonymous. It makes such a big difference when you have a name.

Brockley Nick said...


It's not assuming the worst to acknowledge the risk.

Anyone who supports BrocSoc's action should acknowledge that it has the potential to derail the entire project.

If you look at the poll on Sue's site there are three options. The first option and the third option are clear and valid choices. Anyone who chose option 2 is kidding themselves.

Anonymous said...

I agree entirely. Option 2 appears hopeful....at this stage.


Anonymous said...

I've read that Prendergast's 'modern' buildings are being knocked down soon, after standing for - oh, 15 years. Does this mean that if we got the existing 'modernised' Gordonbrock back on track then 15 years from now the next generation of kids would have to watch Gordonbrock getting knocked down AGAIN???!! Surely, the desire should be to build a school that will not only serve the currents kids and community but future ones to, like the existing Edwardian buildings have down for 105 years? If they're refurbished they'd probably last as long again...

Anonymous said...

A few people have mentioned that BrockSoc didn't consult with parents about any of this but the reality is parents were:

1. leafletted about an alternative proposal back in Feb at the school gates and given the chance to register their objection to the exisiting proposal through an onlime petition (now with over 300 signatures)

2. The www. savegordonbrock.com website listed reasons why we felt the exitisng proposals were flawed (including lack of consultation with aprents - putting up plans is not the same as having an frank and open meeting with aprents to discuss everything)

3. FOG parents were contacted with the key feasibility drawings in early March explaining a legal letter challenging the planning decision and process had gone out

4. I personally went to talk to FOG parents at their monthly meeting and showed them the BrocSoc feasibility report and explained that the council had granted planning permission unlawfully and were being challeneged for not following their own guidelines, procedures and planning law

5. I explained at this FOG meeting that we had requested a meeting with the Council, Head of Governors and Head Teacher Sue Blyth on a number of occasions to discuss our proposal, but none was forthcoming.

6. We also asked the Head of Governors and Head Teacher Sue Blyth for the opportunity to present the feasibility report to parents, at school, so that they could see how the BrocSoc proposal compared to the exisiting proposal, allowing them
to make an informed decision about the school their kids would be educated in. No response or meetings were forthcoming.

6. We sent the feasibility report and key drawings to the School and Council so that they could look at them in detail.

7. A Pre-action letter was served on Lewisham Council and sent to Head Governor and Head Teacher Sue Blyth giving them 14 days to respond BEFORE any leagl action resulted. Again we asked for a meeting to discuss things - none was forthcoming.

8. Before the pre-action letter even expired Lewisham Council issued a letter on the 17th March postponing the decant & demolition without informing us or offering us a chance to talk.

Unfortuntaly, that meant we weren't able to present our proposal. Also, because Lewisham Council and the School decided not to meet with us, despite repeated requests, we ended up with the sorry situation we now have.

Just wanted to post this so people can see there are two sides to this and that the Council and the School also had a big part in the impasse that's been reached.

Hopefully the meeting that the Council and School have eventually agreed to, on Friday, will get things back on track.


Brockley Nick said...

It's a minor point, but rather than signing off your name at the end of a posting, please can you enter it in the "Name/URL" box. It takes no more time and makes debates easier to follow.


Anonymous said...

A quick point - there have been numerous instances in the past of BrocSoc refusing to get involved in certain matters because they weren't in the conservation area, and similarly, refusing to let people who live outside the conservation area join the society.

Given that Gordonbrock is outside the conservation area, does this action by BrocSoc signal a new, more inclusive and geographically broad approach to its role in the local area?

Robert said...

Gordonbrock directly faces the Conservation Area. Well within the remit of the Brockley Society.

In fact, the Brockley Society's technical remit actually covers the whole of Lewisham - though we choose to focus on issues concerning Brockley.

We are certainly not constrained to only working within the boundaries of the Conservation Area, and have been involved with projects that have been outside of this zone in the past - including most recently the Big Yellow Storage planning application on Lewisham Way.

As well as this, we sit on the fortnightly planning amenities panel at Lewisham Council, where we are able to comment on planning applications throughout the borough. Gordonbrock was not presented at these meetings, which was one of the reasons we didn't hear about it until very late on in the process.

It's really to do with how important we feel a particular cause is, and if people involved in the society have the energy or time to put into it, and whether or not there is enough general support locally. Gordonbrock definitely ticked all of these boxes.

I can tell you categorically, if you have a genuine interest in Brockley's built environment and the protection of the area's architectural heritage, have positive skills you can offer, and are willing to get involved and help out - we won't ask any questions about where you live!

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely and completely the opposite of what BrocSoc itself has said publicly about its own membership and role, Robert.

For example:

Robert said...

I don't think that's contradictory at all. Nowhere does Clare suggest that the BrocSoc omits anyone who does not live in the CA.

She even states that we would like to deliver newsletters outside the CA, but do not have the volunteers.

It is true, that the bulk of our work is done within the Conservation Area, but there is absolutely no reason, other than the will of individuals involved in the Society, to prevent us occasionally stepping outside if we think something is important enough.

Sorry, but this line of debate really is a wild goose chase!

Anonymous said...

You can't have it both ways.

From that link:
"Yes, Brockley Society is really the Brockley Conservation Area Society."
"Brockley Society's membership is everyone who lives in the Conservation Area"
"'No man (or woman, or child) is an individual outside BrocSoc (if they live in the Conservation Area)."

Is BrocSoc membership open to those who live outside the conservation area, or not? Which one of you is right on this?

You may not be aware of it, but posters on this blog have long expressed a wish to join BrocSoc and/or get BrocSoc involved in issues outside of the conservation area, and numerous times people have posted saying they had been knocked back by BrocSoc.

You sound as though you're saying that BrocSoc has now changed this policy - which many people would welcome. Is this actually the case?

Anonymous said...

The relevance, by the way, is obvious. If BrocSoc's remit is the conservation area, then it is acting well beyond its remit in undertaking these actions relating to Gordonbrock School.

Hillbilly said...

Re we won't ask any questions about where you live

That's great news can think of lots of buildings in Peckham that need protecting - are you up for it?

Tressilliana said...

Brockley Society objectives, just copied from the Charities Commission website:

'Brockley Society is a community association open & free to all residents living in the Brockley conservation area (and anyone adjacent who is interested). It is run entirely by volunteers. We hold and support local events, meetings; a newsletter is delivered free to every household. Our objectives are to conserve the area's unique character, promote local community activity & improve facilities.'


Martin said...

Anonymous said...

I think the parents care more about the loos than the kids. I managed fine in a Victorian primary school with outside loos - and that wasn't so long ago.

Good for you. My daughter hates the outside toilets and does her best not to go to the toilet at school. I think you're an idiot with no empathy.

Kids are adaptable. said...

I don't think outside loos are great but it isn't the end of the world for a kid to use them. A bit of adversity in life, won't kill kids. Sometimes they need to find ways to face problems, it can strengthen their personalites.

Robert said...

I'd just like to clarify that the Brockley Society are not endorsing the continued use of outside loos for children.

This is why we have gone to the trouble to produce plans that demonstrate that all aspects of the brief can be achieved, including inside toilets, using the existing buildings as a base.

Danja said...

There is also a misinformed assumption such as put forward by Jon Johnson above that the Brockley society believe the school buildings are fine as they are and 'fit for educating children in the 21st Century', which clearly they don't as they would not go to the extend of hiring an architect to draw up plans to bring them in line.

After trying to get it Grade II listed, which would have made redevelopment on any real scale very difficult if not impossible. To me that displays their true priorities.

Robert said...

It's perfectly possible to develop alongside or adapt listed buildings. Any proposals requires Listed Building Consent - which I'm sure would have been passed by Lewisham, with few if any objections.

Prederghast is a listed building, and they have had major extensions to the buildings, and are about to undertake further alterations.

Rachel M said...

The problem is that many parents are objecting to this rebuild just because they don't want to decant their children.

They are not bothered about the type of rebuild.

Maybe broc soc could sort the wheat from the chaff?

Also an online petition is not the same as real signatures from real people!!!

And I'm, sorry to say, neither is yours Ms Luxton. Your voting system can easily be rigged.

wrong side of brockley said...

@Robert said... It's perfectly possible to develop alongside or adapt listed buildings.

What you don't seem to understand or want to hear is that following the last time the school didn't get rebuilt the governing body employed award-winning architects (Cotterell and Vermillion, following a thorough selection process) to undertake a feasibility study to refurbish the old buildings rather than rebuilding. The result of this was that all parties agreed that the circle could not be squared and the only option was to rebuild - hence the current plans to rebuild HALF the school.

So my question to you Robert is why if the school governing body have already explored the option of refurbishment (and spent good money doing it) do think you think that they should go through the whole process again? You have NOT produced full plans - you produced an artists impression of what you think it might look like without paying any attention to what DfSCF stipulate re school buildings

A response to this question rather than trotting out the usual statements would be most helpful as this seems to be the only way that parents can communicate with you.

Tressilliana said...

Prendergast's main building is listed because of the murals in the hall. The buildings on the lower site are not listed. The school has faced considerable difficulties as a result of having the listing - limitations on what it can do with the space, extra costs.

AnneG said...

@RachelM - does that mean you are rigging it then?
It's laughable that Gordonbrock's website describes the school as a welcoming community, which it has been and can be, but not at the moment with people harrassing parents at the school gates every day. It's turning into a really unhealthy battle which doesn't seem to solve anything, and indeed seems to be a bit of a witch hunt. I have nothing to do with Brocsoc but I'm beginning to sympathise with them.
I don't know where you got the idea that bussing children to a different site every day for 15 months is not a big issue, it's certainly not the only issue but it is a very important issue.

Anonymous said...

I am a child of gorden brook and i love
the idea of being bused.

To add to that there will be two buildings
staying so what is their problem if they
JUST want thr history( very unlikely).

Pupil yr 5

AnneG said...

I'm glad you love the idea, good for you.

What I'm trying to say, it's not just about one thing, or even two things, there are a number of issues and different people have different priorities, we just have to find a way that every one can agree on and not go round harrassing people.

drakefell debaser said...

Heavens, Brockley Central will need a panic button soon if 10 year olds are posting.

Getting a little frustrated at Anons said...

I can't believe that someone had the cheek/rudeness to completely ignore Nicks request to stop using Anons and posted anonymously directly under him (Anon 11.52). As Tressilliana said you can simply use a pseudonym, just select the name/URL and choose any name you wish.

Nick you should just remove all comments left by anonymous people. They would soon stop.

Local Resident Previously Parent. said...

Broc soc seem to have approached their scheme differently to Cotterell and Vermillion. Perhaps there is more than one way to skin a cat?

What poll are you referring to? Can we view / rate the various schemes somewhere?

Anon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Its just rude said...

It's Nick's Blog, he works hard on it for us and he has kindly asked for people to stop. Why is it so hard to use a pseudonym when posting in a debate?

Jonas said...

"Martin said...
Anonymous said...

I think the parents care more about the loos than the kids. I managed fine in a Victorian primary school with outside loos - and that wasn't so long ago.

Good for you. My daughter hates the outside toilets and does her best not to go to the toilet at school. I think you're an idiot with no empathy."

I save my empathy for children who don't have a school at all, or toilets; not parents who think that using an outside toilet block is some form of hardship. What I'm saying is this is a emotive argument, especially as Broc Socs plans include indoor toilets.

Let's leave the 'kids are hurt about this' argument out of this. They are going to have to face a lot worse in life than a few expectations not being fulfilled.

m said...

I was surprised my niece thinks the loos are fine. She says it is better if you have to go outside. Likes getting wet to. Not an argument for keeping them though. The thing is, if I needed to upgrade my bathroom, I wouldn't pull the house down. Modern living hey

Anonymous said...

@Rachel M: I'm not claiming any scientific validity with the poll on my blog; I recognise that it is a very limited tool, and can be easily skewed either way with a bit of concerted e-mailing to supporters. The results so far are certainly quite different to what we are hearing on the doorstep -
it's pretty evenly split on the blog poll, whereas the vast majority of parents we spoke to at the weekend were annoyed by the delay.

I hope to have a better understanding of the situation once I've met with officers tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how I post with name, but it is Ali.

I am very unimpressed with rather a lot of parents at school. Very angry and haras me at gate. Before brockley people not do this. We did not know this was happening, I came to school and not know this. We were happy. Then suddenly they all say, my child has school no good. I think it lovely, good light and beautiful buildings. We should be proud. Spend money wisely. You would not pull your house down and build new next to it if it was your saving.

Anonymous said...

Sue, Isn't that how politics works?
See how many supporters you can coax into voting before the poll ends?

The incumbants are either better at coaxing, or have more supporters.

mat said...

Impressed a year 5 student is sad not to be decanted and to spend the last year of their school in temporary classrooms miles away.

I am surrounded by a group of very relieved parents. I agree with Ali. We quite recently started and had no idea about all these plans. One of our favourite things about the school was the classrooms and the individual halls. (not forgetting some lovely teachers)

Suddenly there is some hysteria and you cannot be taught in these classrooms and our children's education is going to be ruined. Yet lots of schools round here have similar classrooms. There are outstanding schools in old buildings, I am talking about state ones now, but obviously private schools manage to turn out educated children in old buildings.

Posting my name but I think there are a few of us out there.

Julia said...

As I understand it, the council themselves have decribed the plans as "poor quality" so I dont quite understand why parents are so keen to have a "poor quality" school after the rebuild, there are obviously problems with the original plans or we wouldnt be where we are now. I dont object to the school having whatever it needs done to it to make it sustainable and fir for purpose but as it is a huge project, lets get it right!

If people are so opposed to the school the way it is, it does beg the question why some parents sent their kids there at all!

Ramble said...

I completely agree with Julia. This is about a school for the future. Parents who are complaining now about the delay, would you have the same views if your child was a lot younger and wouldn't be going to the school yet or if your child had already left? The plans need to be 100% right for the hundreds of children who will use it over the next few decades. Lack of communication has lead to a stand off which isn't helping anyone and is probably distracting the teachers from teaching!

Be patient and stop bickering.

Tamsin said...

@ Ali
If the options come up the same on your machine as mine - and I don't see why they shouldn't - you have a choice of four buttons to put a little blue blob on. The default with me is Google account, otherwise the default might be Anonymous. Then just change it by clicking on the circle next to "Name" to move the blue bob there. And you are instanty given a space in which to type Mickey Mouse or whatever other humerous moniker takes your fancy.
I am just too boring for words.

Annoyed and Relieved said...


I am not sure if this was deliberate but your message sounds like you are interested only in what current parents think, forgetting that your poll may not in fact be skewed, but that other concerned parties are voting also.

I am not surprised that Parents are annoyed by this mess. I am a local resident, my child is not at Gordonbrock yet, but may well be in a couple of years.

I am relieved that the school is not being pulled down. Perhaps my vote is skewing your poll?

Blue sky said...

A few points:
First of all, re Mat's comment about knowing nothing of the plans, I find this extraordinary. I put GB down as one of my choices (my daughter started school in January this year) in full knowledge of what would be happening. Some basic research would have revealed this - I find it incredible that parents can make a decision without asking a few questions and reading up about the school. The plans were no secret.
Second, Julia's point:
'If people are so opposed to the school the way it is, it does beg the question why some parents sent their kids there at all!'
This is a moot point as although in theory it might look like we have choices about where we send our children, in practice this is not the case. You only ever get offered a place at one school. If you're lucky it'll be your first choice. If you're unlucky it'll be none of your choices. As it happens, my daughter didn't get into GB.
I have to say, the more I read on here, I find myself switching allegiance a little bit. My initial reaction as a parent was to agree wholeheartedly with the parents - how frustrating, after all those months of preparing your child about the 'adventure' that was soon to start, to have to tell them that it's no longer happening, etc etc. (But let's not underestimate children - they don't know any different, they can't really imagine what the new school would look like and be like to learn in, and before long they'll have moved onto the next thing and forgotten all about the whole sorry saga - unlike the grown-ups!)
If what the BrocSoc people say is true, and all their attempts to meet with the council and Sue Blyth were indeed ignored, I think a lot of the anger should be directed towards those bodies rather than BrocSoc itself. I can't help but feel that if what the parents are saying are true - that they are prepared to put up with the inconvenience/disruption for 18 months for the greater good of the school and future generations of pupils, surely they want the best job possible done on the school. By everyone's admission, the plans are NOT up to scratch. If the buildings are shoddy and falling apart in 15 years' time, a la Prendergast lower site, then it is NOT the best decision for the longterm good of the school - or for taxpayers' money. In 15 years' time, when your children have flown the nest, how pleased will you be when your money is being used to rebuild the school - AGAIN?
I agree that BrocSoc's timing was appalling - they've admitted that themselves - but ultimately the job should be done PROPERLY and not the usual bodge job the council gets away with.
I've heard the Daily Mail is getting hold of this soon (the anti BrocSoc, poor poor children stance). But it could just as easily take the other stance in a few years' time - 'look at this falling-down school, which tax payers' money was wasted on only 5 years ago' etc etc.

Pete said...

It will be pretty shocking if the DM get hold of this.

That was a pretty great post from Blue Sky in my opinion.

Danja said...

By everyone's admission, the plans are NOT up to scratch

I'd be interested in a neutral report on this. Robert's own report on the planning committee (reported by Nick) was that much (but not all) of the criticisms were of the "plans" in the sense of the drawings which were provided, rather than the plans, as in the scheme itself.

The design came in for some criticism as well, but no details of that were given, and it is hardly an unbiased source. It's not clear if that was just the visuals, or the quality of the scheme as a whole.

I'd be interested in knowing a bit more about those criticisms from someone who was on the panel (or anyone else who was there), as to what they meant - other than 'we haven't been given a render, only plans and elevations' which seems a bit petty.

Blue sky said...

Danja, when I said that, I guess I was referring to comments such as 'the plans aren't perfect but they're better than what's there at the moment' and similar, which doesn't sound good enough to me. And someone posted that Lewisham council has even said that the approved build plans are 'of poor quality', which seems pretty damning.

Brockley Nick said...

@BlueSky - any design would be a compromise. Even when you start with a green field, compromise is necessary. But when you want to conserve existing buildings, maximise playground space, minimise disruption, improve sustainability, deliver with a budget and adhere to a very detailed and strict set of government requirements, the compromises are even greater.

No design will keep everyone 100% happy. The relevant questions are whether the designs represent enough of an improvement to justify cost and disruption and whether alternative propsals would genuinely represent an improvement over the current plans and are genuinely achievable without risking loss of funding.

Danja said...

I know someone posted that, I'm interested in how true it is.

Most of the complaints about design seem to focus on the extensive use of brightly coloured render. Not my favourite material and a bit cheap and cheerful, but a purely aesthetic consideration.

Maybe it is more fundamental than that, but from I've seen the idea that everyone thinks this is a poor design - even the Council - seems to be gaining currency by repetition.

Obviously the new bits are in a very modern style and that isn't going to please everyone, and it's built to a budget.

The 2005 scheme (which the planning officer viewed as little different) was seemingly praised for being a good design by the Design Committee (that could of course, have been spun)a bit or a lot.

Blue sky said...

@Nick, of course I appreciate that there will always be compromise. But there's the slight whiff of desperation emanating from some parents - I get the impression that they feel they have to accept these plans so as not to delay things and risk losing the funding.

Claire said...

I really do agree with Bluesky, what is the point in putting up a structure that will only have to be replaced in 30 or so years time. (Like at Prendergast)
I also agree with Bluesky that we should not be putting too much emphasis on poor, poor children. The children are fine! They have great teachers and are getting a great education. There will always be disappointments in life, get used to looking at those tear-stained faces guys, there's alot more to come (I don't mean at GB I mean life in general and there's alot worse life can throw at you).
The Daily Mail! I shudder, there's no way I'd ever associate myself with that dreadful thing.

Anon and proud said...

"we should not be putting too much emphasis on poor, poor children." erm.... It's a school

Robert said...

Bluesky's post has just panicked me into phoning the Mail's education correspondent.

She has told me that nothing on Gordonbrock has passed her desk.

I thought I'd double check, and contacted the Standard as well - and their education chap has not had anything either.

Good thing too. This is a local issue, for local people! I'm sure we can find a way through this without having the likes of the Mail adding their two-penneth.

Anonymous said...

I guess they know now

Robert said...

They know, but didn't seem very interested.

Brockley Nick said...

There is a lot of arguing with straw men going on here.

Who is suggesting we build a school that must be knocked down again in 30 years? No one.

All buildings are designed with a lifecycle of about 30 years in mind - because architects know that requirements and specifications change over time - particularly in places like schools.

It doesn't mean they get knocked down at that point, it means that there is an acknowledgement that they may need major refurbishment, alteration, extension, change of use, etc, etc.

There were plenty of Edwardian buildings that didn't last 30 years too.

Anonymous said...

I too shudder at the thought of parents reaching out to the Daily Mail. They'll surely pick this story up and run with it.

Have none of the guys on here thought of touching base with The Guardian? I'm sure they would flesh out the story and not just focus on one angle?

I'm also worried that, given the delay, Lewisham Council will just hit this issue into the long grass and we'll have to re-invent the wheel in 6 months time.

Finally, I believe that children are our future, treat them well and let them lead the way.

Rachel M said...

Apologies if repeating myself but..

This website, which is a Broc Soc pressure group website and the Save Gordonbrock website both have links to Sue Luxton's poll.

If that's not political pressure what is?

Baring in mind the parents for the rebuild do not have a website and would be unaware of Sue's poll...

Talk about inclusive!!!

Brockley Nick said...

@RachelM - this website is most certainly not a BrocSoc pressure group website. What gave you that idea?

And there is no specific link to Sue's poll, although I do link to her site on a regular basis, as it is a useful source of news.

Anonymous said...

Someone should probably point out that children don't care what their school building is like, as long as they can see their friends every day and their teachers are nice. Likewise, parents shouldn't care as long as the teachers are good, the resources (books) are available and the environment is safe.

The squabling amongst grown adults who should know better is teetering between hilarious and tragic - that's the only thing that will upset the kids.

Robert said...


We certainly have the link on the savegordonbrock.com website - why wouldn't we. What other website are you referring to?

On the other side of the coin - parents have been alowed to petition in support of demolition and decant in the school playground on a daily basis - and by all accounts, have done so very aggressively. Also every parent has recieved a letter from the school management highlighting their objections to the campaign.

When parents supporting the campaign tried to hand leaflets out in the playground in February, they were asked to leave the premises by the head teacher - as she would not allow "political action" in her school.

Tressilliana said...

Let's not get carried away with using Prendergast as a comparison. The buildings at Prendergast are not being knocked down because they are falling apart. I haven't seen the detail of what is proposed but when Prendergast acquired that site there was limited funding available to be divvied up between refurbishing the building on the upper site, the science block on the lower site and building a new art/sports block on the lower site. Subsequently funding was secured to build an exam hall on the lower site and a free-standing music block on the upper site. If the school had had access to enough money to redevelop the lower site completely when it first moved there (1995) it would have done so. What I assume is happening now is that they've got the money together to do now what they always wanted to do down there and start again from scratch. Not ideal to pull down buildings which are less than 15 years old and perfectly sound to carry on for a lot longer, but in the long run maybe that's the best way to use the space. The science block is more like 40 years old and designed very differently from the way a modern science block would be.

Anonymous said...

well give a little boy a choice of playing with a loaded gun or a jigsaw puzzle, he'll choose the gun. That what adults are for - making informed choices.

Anonymous said...

Why does this site maintain that the pro rebuild group are behaving agressively?

One or two of the petitioners have also been spoken to agressively.

I suppose that's OK?

Blue sky said...

Really? Mine would definitely choose the puzzle, but whatever.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me in a society that's strapped for cash. Niggling over how a school is rebuilt is a worthy cause?

Our council tax bills are high enough. Higher due to planners and lawyers throwing their weight around.

The elitist middle class playing with the borough's money.

Do you remember the dark old days before labour were in power.

No budget for prettying up our environment then.

bored of whinge bags, trolls and ferrets said...

The elitist middle class playing with the borough's money.

Don't start with that nonsense. If you have nothing to add to the debate about the school then move on.

Anonymous said...

Whinge bags, trolls and ferrets...

So that's not intimidating the pro build then?

wrong side of brockley said...

@wrong side of brockley asked robert

"why if the school governing body have already explored the option of refurbishment (and spent good money doing it) do think you think that they should go through the whole process again?"

Why is it that robert never answers questions? Surely charities like BS are accountable for their actions?

hillbilly said...

Only saw petitioning outside the school. IS BS fabricating misinformation too?

going for gold said...

I got the impression that the governors were very interested in the options for refurbishment. (probably why they went down this route) The council just wanted to use the BSF team and not have a traditional quality build type project. I presume they have no professional capacity left to run these things. Best hand it over with lots of money to someone else and accept what you get given at the end.

It is plain wrong to loose these buildings just because the current situation has no-one capable of overseeing a beautiful job. In the big scheme of things we can wait until someone cares to do the job properly.

This subject has not just been in the architectural press lately but also the national news. It is something that really matters.

I found Gordonbrock on the Victorian Society's buildings at risk list. They aren't saying go for museum status, they understand the need to adapt and they know it can be done. So why aren't we doing it?

George said...

Blue Sky, I don't know how I feel now you say you knew about the plans. I have been parent at school for years and did not know this was going to happen. I knew they had plans to improve things but not send my children to Bell Green and certainly not this year.

You very privileged. I am certainly not alone as long term parent at school and the new ones I spoke to recently, some were told there was no rebuild.

Unknown said...

Just wanted to let everyone know that Sue Blyth, head of Gordonbrock, has not invited Broc Soc along to tonight's meeting at Gordonbrock School. So how are they expected to present their case? Also, tomorrow afternoon's meeting with senior council members, Broc Soc, parents and the architect of Broc Soc feasibility plans has one notable absentee: Sue Blyth. When asked to comment she refused to explain the reason for her absence at this vital meeting.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame her.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she has been told by her bosses not to get Involved,She wont be the one able to say yea or nay anyway.

Anonymous said...

Annonymous 12.21, that may be so, but her reply to the question re whether she had invited Broc Soc to the meeting: "parents have invited them" seems wishy washy to say the least! She knows Broc Soc not able to attend school premises unless invited! If they had been invited they could perhaps have asked their architect to go along too. Just seems yet another example of the "head in the sand" approach to considering anyone's alternative viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

It was a meeting for parents. The world doesn't revolve around Broc Soc..... does that sound harsh?

TressiliaNo said...

What, not allowed to the welcoming community school? or did I read the website wrong.

Anonymous said...

I back the brockley society. I believe that spending £12m to knock down a school and rebuild it from scratch is not a good use of tax payers money. The Brockley Society has proposed a viable alternative that retains the building inside the conservation area and provide the school with the same facilities a new building would offer.

Some parents forget that the school belongs to the entire community, and that soon their children will grow up and leave the school while the new building will be a long lasting legacy.

My understanding is that Broc Soc was willingly involved very late in the process. The Council could have involve the society very early on, but as usual they try to force planning through without asking anyone.

I back the Brockley Society and suggest the parents to lobby the Council to facilitate the new planning as soon as possible. Certainly there is sufficient time to make changes to the plan, so stop complaining and go back to the drawing board.

We want to keep the old Edwardian School.

Anonymous said...

Concrete slab or renovation?




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