Charles Dickens Primary Expansion

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Wednesday 24 September 2014 3.02pm
Emilie, forgive me but I had no idea what you were proposing.

For clarity, are you saying that you're in favour of development, but would rather it was elsewhere on the existing site? Where would that be?

Apologies if I'm missing something that's clear, but I can't see what you're proposing. Where is this "land on the other side of the site"?

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 24 September 2014 4.04pm
Ivanhoe wrote:
Where is this "land on the other side of the site"?

That would be the now closed Lant Street, no?
Wednesday 24 September 2014 4.35pm
Having no children of or even close to school age and not living in the vicinity I have neither an axe to grind nor an informed opinion on the school's proposals.

However, I'm genuinely intrigued to understand why it is that of all the schools located in SE1, only this one (as far as I can recall) attracts critical postings on this forum. Is it uniquely troublesome to its neighbours, or is there some other reason?
Wednesday 24 September 2014 4.56pm
Sandgrown Dave wrote:
Having no children of or even close to school age and not living in the vicinity I have neither an axe to grind nor an informed opinion on the school's proposals.
However, I'm genuinely intrigued to understand why it is that of all the schools located in SE1, only this one (as far as I can recall) attracts critical postings on this forum. Is it uniquely troublesome to its neighbours, or is there some other reason?

Back in the day it had a bad reputation purely from a academic point of view. We were frowned upon when we sent our children there. Only a few years later, people were "fighting" for a place at CD. The Lant Street closure was definitely controversial, but personally I thought it was good for the pupils, more space etc. but it attracted some criticism from SE1ers as well. I now find it hard to tell sometimes if the criticism is justified or not, after all the school has been there for more than a century and its reputation has most definitely improved over the last decade. I don't think the last 2 headteachers have been very communicative towards residents though, they definitely seem to have different priorities than their predecessor, Mrs Owens, who did all the hard work to improve the school and had genuine affection for the pupils. I get the impression that ow they are now faffing around a bit, they closed Lant street but I don't get the feeling they have made the most of that extra land. That expansion looks quiet claustrophobic to me, architecturally it might (or might not) be pleasing, but the "non running space" makes me wonder if the children are their priority... The playground wasn't massive tos tart with, although they improved it at some point. Those images don't reveal a lot, they don't correspond to reality at the best of times. I haven't been near the school for a while, but has the use of Lant street improved?
Wednesday 24 September 2014 5.08pm
Apologies, I meant why sacrifice the main playground when there is land on the site of (former) Lant Street.

I'm not opposing expansion of CD school, it's very nice to have a succesfull school in the neighbourhood.

It's not so much that CD school plans to expand but HOW it plans to expand. The overall impression following the consultation is flippancy about sacrificing a playground which has been used by generations of children (and which once built on cannot be given back for a very long time), and about the impact on the neighbouring buildings and residents in general.

In fairness to the architects, they responded to queries as best as they could, but seemed not to have considered the impact on the wider community at all. Again, no one is against a school that is doing well, but it seems very much like "this is the plan, and there are no alternatives". When clearly the picture is much more complicated than that, in terms of the overall site.
Wednesday 24 September 2014 5.15pm
Emilie G wrote:
Apologies, I meant why sacrifice the main playground when there is land on the site of (former) Lant Street.

Emilie, do you know what the status of the former Lant street land is? It seemed very underused last time I was there...
Wednesday 24 September 2014 5.24pm
Edward, I don't know the legal status of the (former) Lant Street land which is now used by the school. However, I intend to find out asap.
In terms of the use the school is making of the land, it seems to be used for the younger children.
Anyone who can shed more light on this, we'd be grateful for your input!
Wednesday 24 September 2014 7.58pm
Thanks for your reply, Emelie; sorry for not understanding your point in the first place.
I have sympathy for your views, now that I understand them.
In terms of use of space, my understanding is that currently the younger children (of which there are now twice as many, since moving to a two-class intake) are the main users of the Lant St space. The reception classes (and, I think, the nursery classes) have classrooms that open onto the Lant St space, and it gives them a nice transition.
Of course it will be different under the new plans, and, as I understand it, that's where your concern comes into play.

...if you press it, they will come.
Thursday 25 September 2014 12.28am
I was at the consultation meeting and was told that the Lant street playground cannot be built on because the council, utility companies etc. need access to pipes and so on beneath it in case of emergency. Only temporary structures can be placed there.

I was also told that this Lant st. side would become the school's main playground, with the current temporary wooden building being taken down once the new building on the other side of the school has been built.
Thursday 25 September 2014 7.25am
vicd wrote:
I was at the consultation meeting and was told that the Lant street playground cannot be built on because the council, utility companies etc. need access to pipes and so on beneath it in case of emergency. Only temporary structures can be placed there.
I was also told that this Lant st. side would become the school's main playground, with the current temporary wooden building being taken down once the new building on the other side of the school has been built.

That makes sense and is kind of what I would have expected. Still wonder what restrictions "temporary structures" entails.
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