Sutton and Cheam Labour Party Sutton and Cheam Constituency Labour Party, London Borough of Sutton
Rosehill Park School Proposals
Rosehill Park School Development
Update – August 2021. Secondary School will not go ahead. Uncertainty over siting of SEN school
Residents are celebrating a victory after 6 years of campaigning against the secondary school. Labour first launched opposition to the proposal in the spring of 2015. Labour consistently opposed both the re-designation of the park site for building purposes supported by the Lib Dems and the Tories and also the planning application supported by the Tories and opportunistically opposed by the Lib Dems.
The Department for Education (DfE) cancelled the Sutton new secondary school (Sutton Free School 1) planned to be built at Rosehill in late August 2021. Following a review of the needed school places, the Department for Education and Sutton Council have concluded that the demand can be sufficiently met by utilising existing schools in Sutton without the need to open the eight form entry secondary school.
Government ministers considered the plans, alongside the context of COVID-19, Brexit and falling birth rates in the Borough. As a result, the DfE decided to cancel plans for an additional free school for mainstream secondary pupils, known as ‘Sutton Free School 1’.
Following the decision from the DfE, secondary schools in the borough will work in partnership with Sutton Council to make high-quality, additional places available over the next 5-6 years. This will be as an alternative to the now cancelled mainstream free school. Additional places have been agreed with the following secondary schools: Carshalton High School for Boys, Carshalton High School for Girls, Cheam High School, Glenthorne High School, Oaks Park High School, Overton Grange School, St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls.
The DfE proposal to create a new, 56-place free school in the borough for pupils living with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC), known as ‘Sutton Free School 2’ is still being proposed. However the siting of that may be less clear now as it would be a strange place to site on its own at the back of a park, when partnering it with another school as part of an integration strategy tends to be the mainstream approach. It should also be noted that whilst £9.3 million has already been agreed to be spent on the extra school places – see here – nothing further is being said about the smaller school.
Sutton Labour will continue to monitor developments and will propose alternative sites to development of a 56 place ASC school rather than build it on its own as an isolated facility in a very large park.
More details on the issue are reported here and here.
More on our local policies about protecting parks and our local Manifesto can be read here.
Update – March 2021. Planning Inspector Decision
In March 2021, the Planning Inspector Appointed by the Government approved the school. Details of that are here. Sutton and Cheam Labour Party said in response: “Residents in the Rosehill and Sutton North area are right to feel angry. The local Tory MP and Tory Councillors have supported this proposal since 2014. However the local Lib Dem Councillors and Lib Dem controlled Sutton Council also bear a major responsbility too. They supported de-designation of the park land as Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) in the first place. They then belatedly opposed the really bad planning application that emerged. However if they had got the Council to keep the MOL designation, its very unlikely this scheme would have ever got of the ground. Labour has consistently opposed this proposal since 2014 and will continue to campaign against the development and remind the public who is responsible for it.
Update – September 2020: Planning Inquiry
The planning application was rejected by Councillors on the Planning Committee on Tuesday 10 September 2019 after a 4 hour meeting. 6 Labour Party members attended along with local residents and 3 of our members spoke. The Greenshaw Trust appealed and there was going to be a public inquiry in March 2020, but that was delayed until September 2020 due to the Coronavirus crisis.
The Planning Inquiry is being held on Wednesday 9th September 2020 and Labour activists will be speaking at it. The inquiry will be held as a virtual event run by an Inspector in the normal way, but with the parties invited to join via Microsoft Teams or telephone. Anyone wishing to attend the inquiry must make that interest known to the Planning Inspectorate Case Officer as soon as possible prior to the inquiry, either by email or telephone as below.
Case Officer contact at the Planning Inspectorate:
Alison Dyson, Planning Inspectorate Reference: APP/P5870/W/19/3241269
Contact ideally by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0303 444 5304
You can find out more about the proposed new schools here. Documents relating to the appeal can be viewed here by entering reference DM2019/00985.
A Briefing note from Sutton Labour
Sutton Labour is fighting to oppose the school proposed to be built in Rosehill Park. We have been consistent over many years on this issue. In 2015 Labour Parliamentary candidate Emily Brothers put it in her election address that she opposed the development. In 2016 Sutton and Cheam Labour Party were the only Party to put an objection in to the Local Plan on this issue.
This is in contrast to the local Conservative MP who always puts support for the building of this school in his leaflets and all the Liberal Democrat (including the three local Councillors) and Conservative Councillors who at no stage opposed the de-designation of the site from Metropolitan Open Land to Education purposes, which is why we are now at a stage where a planning application is being tabled.
Labour supports local residents opposing our park being turned into a building site for two years and then a traffic generating school being opened. Here are some of the reasons to oppose:
- It would reduce the open, green and flat appearance of the park
- The height would be 4 stories so it would be as high as the current pylons at the Sports Village. The current design looks like a big slab and some local residents at the recent consultation event said it looked like a prison. Residents are unlikely to want to see “Greenshaw Scrubs” or “Greenshawtraz” built in their park
- The car park to the north would take 68 cars and it would link to the current Sports Village access road so that would be very crowded and traffic would all come out on a busy road. There will be inadequate parking for a development of this size
- It will generate significant congestion in Angel Hill especially if there was later a tram route there as well
- The school would have 1,556 pupils impacting on the local area.
- The fencing of the school combined with the Railway line fence would mean the southern indoor sports hall of the Sports Village would be surrounded by fences on three sides. This means it could potentially become a fire trap if the northern half of the building had a fire and people were trapped in the southern half.
- The planning application was submitted in June. It was originally planned to be considered by Committee in August, however after local objections by residents and Labour Party members it will now be considered in September.
- The Construction site will occupy the current tennis courts and access will be to the south. The current access road there is narrow and runs close to the pedestrian crossing. It would come out on a very busy road.
- The Bowling Green will stay in use, but a resident pointed out all the dust from the site will be near it.
- Construction would, if agreed, start in December 2019 and run for 96 weeks (ie close to 2 years) and they would aim to open in September 2021.
- Any development will generate substantial air pollution
- It is near lots of other secondary schools and this will generate all sorts of congestion
- The catchment area is to the south, but Merton parents would want to apply here too
- The Council has alternative educational land sites such as the Sutton West site which was a former secondary school in the past
- The Greenshaw Learning Trust will apply for funding if the planning application goes through. This will be from 2020 and it is possible a temporary school would be set up, possibly at the former SCILL Centre in central Sutton from September 2020.
- The Special Needs School to be built on the Rosehill site was insisted by the Department of Education. There may be a case that it could have been linked to another local school rather this proposal.