Labour Council’s plans for a school in Eltham Park

The latest edition of the Eltham Park Residents’ Association (EPRA) newsletter carries a story concerning the re-allocation of Eltham Church of England School (frequently called Roper Street)  to Eltham Park South.  Behind the scenes Eltham Councillor Spencer Drury has made clear his opposition to this proposal, but as local residents are fully aware of the issue (meaning it is in the public domain), he has decided to comment.

 

The origins of the plan to reallocate Roper Street School from its current site lie in the dreadful ‘Eltham Masterplan’, created by the Labour Council last year.  The Masterplan states that ‘the current Roper Street school, is relocated to the site of the existing car showroom on Eltham Hill.’  So the plan was to remove a successful private business from Eltham (the Nissan car showroom), build a replacement school on the main Eltham Hill road (with all the dangers for children of a main road outside the school gates) and then put some more flats on the old school site.  However, it is understood that the plan ran aground when the Nissan dealership refused to move and so the Council came up with an alternative – to move the school to the Eltham Park South. 

 

The Labour Council have a record in this respect, as they have chosen to build over Eltham Common to expand Christ Church Shooters Hill School when they could have simply restored and slightly expanded the church hall which was being used by the school.  In this case, they may have thought they could get away with it as the site they chose is ‘brownfield’ - where the old Lido used to be (which was demolished after much neglect by the self-same Council).  Thankfully, almost all of the stakeholders consulted were against any such move (including the school governors) meaning that it the plan is currently stopped in its tracks.

 

Commenting on the planned move, Spencer said “Eltham North Conservatives and I spoke with a lot of local people and I could not find anyone in favour of this move.  Labour locally has a real record of building over green space and trying to pretend that it won’t happen again.  I fully expect them to return with another plan for the old Lido site where they will try to build something completely inappropriate in our wonderful park.  We must be aware of the danger and be ready to oppose any future plans too.”

 

“In addition this episode reveals the true stupidity of the Eltham Masterplan.  I really don’t blame the Education Department at Greenwich Council, who have had this ridiculous plan thrust upon them, when government money for rebuilding Roper Street would be best spent on improving the existing site.  Instead, they ended up trying to force a perfectly profitable business off Eltham High Street in order to build yet more flats.  The Council seems to have moved from neglect of Eltham High Street to actively trying to cause its decline.  They should be ashamed of themselves and withdraw this ridiculous Masterplan as soon as possible.”

 

The Eltham Masterplan also includes plans for the closure of Argos, the Royal Mail sorting office, Mecca Bingo in addition to the Nissan Car Showroom - in all cases this appears to be to allow more flats to be built.