School approval gives land back to common

Published: Thursday 20th September 12

Open space on Putney Common is set to be extended and enlarged after councillors on the planning committee last night (Wednesday) approved plans to replace the derelict old Putney Hospital with a residential development and a new primary school.

The new school would be funded by the construction and sale of 24 flats at the northern end of the hospital site, on land currently occupied by the now disused nurses' accommodation block.

Only a little over half of the existing hospital site is needed for the new school and flats. The remaining part of this brownfield site can be reclaimed as common land and become part of the open space of Putney Common.

The new primary school, which is vitally needed to address a shortage of places in Putney's Thamesfield ward, would be built on the southern end of the hospital site.

The total footprint of the new school and the new residential units, along with its small access road, is 0.58 of a hectare.

This remaining 0.55 hectare of the site, which is currently occupied by parts of the derelict hospital, its car park, nurses housing block and existing access road, would then be restored to the common.

The new primary school will admit 60 pupils a year into two reception classes. It is expected to open by September 2015 and will eventually cater for 420 pupils from the local area.

Demand for school places is increasing hugely. In Thamesfield ward alone there is now is a predicted shortfall of 60 reception places in 2013. This shortfall will then fluctuate around the 50 mark between then and 2020.

Across Wandsworth as a whole, the birth rate has risen from 4,000 a year a decade ago to just under 6,000 a year in 2010. This upward trend is expected to continue for the next decade.

The approval given by councillors last night must also be endorsed by London Mayor Boris Johnson before full planning consent exists.

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Recent comments

I am concerned about traffic. Lower Richmond Road could be blocked when school traffic meets buses trying to access the bus stand on Putney Common. The bus stand should be moved into the old hospital site next to the school to resolve the issue. This would be better for residents than building luxury flats. It would also be safer for kids as they could avoid crossing Lower Richmond Road. I suggested this to the council but had no response.
A Starr

2 October 2012

This is all nonsense. It is - as others have stated - totally untrue. That the council chooses to peddle such nonsense to try and justify this scheme is one thing which I am used to. But for local councillors and the local MP to support such a scheme in the face of huge opposition is scandalous. When this and other matters are legally challenged, I hope the people who are responsible for telling such blatant untruths in a formal council communication are held accountable.
David Austin

22 September 2012

I need to correct George Casley. Regrettably, you have fallen for WBC's propaganda and lies. They are not telling the truth about this proposal. People who object to this are not right-wing Nimbys (reserve that accusation for our councillors). The school is for 'poor people' (which I support), the luxury flats (which I don't support) are not for 'poor people'. I have no objection to a school, of moderate size, being built on the site of the former hospital. What I object to is the proposal to build a block of luxury flats and the ensuing loss of part of our common. Too much will be squashed into a small site. There'll be no proper playground, and the flats don't even have social housing. Common land must remain common land. It is not for sale. There is something so wrong about everything that has come out of the council on this matter. Why can they not behave with honour and decency? We deserve better.
James Stuart

22 September 2012

The 1st and 3rd paragraphs are completely untrue. You say WBC is returning land to the Common; that land is already part of Putney Common and has been since 1877. Why no mention of the 6m wide road to be built on more common land? Why no mention of the financial deals with the WPCC and exchange of land near Stag Lane? Why no mention of the hundreds of objections to the overdevelopment of this site?
V Richardson

21 September 2012

A missed opportunity to get educayion provision right in Putney. The Putney Society has tried hard to persuade the Council to make a snesible decision, but they have cloth ears. What a shame!
Hugh Samuel

21 September 2012

Can you explain why, if the site for the school and flats will only take half of the old hospital site, the playground is being situated on the roof? My understanding was that there was a lack of space for a playground anywhere else.
Bunny Payne

21 September 2012

As a Putney resident I fully support this development. It is excellent that the proposed development is anti-car and develops a site that is an ugly eye sore. Maybe those who are objecting are just right-wing NIMBYs who don't want poor people enjoying the delights of West Putney.
George Casley

21 September 2012

This press release is a blatant lie. There is no land being returned to the common that is not already registered within the freehold common land that is registered to the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators It is a cynical puff to try and put a positive spin an an unlawful planning permission That WBC's press officer can put out such a lie, reflect poorly on the press department as well as Wandsworth Council The press release should be either corrected, or withdrawn.
John Cameron

21 September 2012

This is not true. Were the open space of Putney Lower Common to grow in size, then why did WBC agree to pay WPCC £250,000 for land? And why is WBC giving WPCC some land in exchange? It is going to reduce in size. Virgin, historic land will be built on. This is an absolute disgrace. This article is propaganda at its worst. Why won't WBC be honest with the residents?
James Stuart

21 September 2012

There are more needy areas of the borough too. Some schools in Victorian triple decker buildings have had every available space allocated to larger intakes. There are sites in the borough that could much more readily be turned into primary schools, but WBC is ignoring them.
Celia Blair

20 September 2012

In addition to Nicholas Evans's points, the birthrate scaremongering is disingenuous. According to Wandsworth Council's Children Services Committee paper the Thamesfield birthrate in 2006 was 269 and is projected to drop to 267 in 2016. Whilst a school, of a size and plan to suit the site, would be welcomed by most residents the 800+ who objected did so because the Council is attempting to shoe horn in too large a project to too small a site. Contrary to the Council press release the development will (over) use all the old hospital site acquired by the Council and also part of the Common. We have been let down by the Council, our Councillors and our MP over this matter. I hope Boris acts in a more thorough and honest manner...
M Bowen

20 September 2012

This press release is completely misleading and inaccurate. None of the land owned by Wandsworth Council and bought from the NHS for £4m will be returned to tbe Common. All the land used for car parks and access roads for the hospital are owned by the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators. They have a duty to return the open spaces previously covered in tarmac to open space under thevterms of the Wimbledon and Putney Commons Act 1871. The new 6m wide access road and coach turnaround which is also being built on WPCC land will remove land from use as common, not return it. These actions are unlawful and will inevitably lead to judicial review.
Nicholas Evans

20 September 2012