Save Elliott School Campaign calls on Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg to restore faith in the Government

The Save Elliott School campaign is, of course, disappointed that Wandsworth Council’s Finance and Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee chose to recommend the sale of 41% (15,070 sq.m. / 3.72 acres) of the school site, including the majority of Elliott’s playing fields.

It is particularly bewildering that a meeting which was supposed to discuss a serious case on its merits should be so bereft of actual statistics and, instead, replete with myths about the site being ‘a sloping car park’ and ideologically-tinged declarations that ‘selling land is an excellent model for funding education’.

96% of respondents to the official public consultation were against the sale of any land. A petition with 56,355 signatures demanding that the Council reject the sale of Elliott School’s playing fields was handed to Leader of the Council, Ravi Govindia, just before the meeting.

The Save Elliott School Campaign pointed out that, after the sale, the size of Elliott’s playing fields would fall below the minimum standards set out by the Department for Education. No one challenged this fact. Instead, references were made to Millfield School managing fine with off-site facilities when that school is situated in some 100 acres of land and Elliott in just 9 (of which it is about to lose almost 4).

The campaign also asked the Committee if it was truly impossible to ask the citizens of Wandsworth whether they would like to pay to keep these playing fields and, potentially, improve schools all round the borough for as little as £26/year? There was no response.

Questions asking for evidence that alternative funding possibilities had been exhausted were circumvented. The campaign has spoken to the Public Works Loan Board and knows that to delay the decision on land sale now for two years and seek alternative funding whilst refurbishment begins costs less than what the Council has already risked in abortive costs.

Since Wandsworth Council is immoveable and Michael Gove and Justine Greening also seem intent on land sale, the campaign calls upon Boris Johnson, who has been so vocal about preserving London’s playing fields, and Nick Clegg, who lives closer to the school than the off-site playing fields available, to restore faith in the Government’s commitment to sport, education and our national heritage.

The TRUTH about the council’s plans

If you read the Council’s press releases which continue to mislead the public about their shameful sale of Elliott School and its sport facilities you may think the proposals are justified. 

Taken from a statement from Wandsworth Council. Released 9th August

“If people think that Elliott School is selling its playing fields they are totally mistaken.

Much of the land in question has been concreted over and is used as a car park and for redundant buildings like the old caretaker’s cottage. None of it is used for sports purposes.”

HERE IS THE TRUTH:

Existing site plan:

http://tinyurl.com/c2a6yll

Land sale plan:

http://tinyurl.com/cf86u2x

Panorama of playground:

http://tinyurl.com/copxng5

3 of 7 Sports courts lost (in good condition):

http://tinyurl.com/dxa2z3r

Athletic field and football pitch lost:

http://tinyurl.com/ck9qzxk

DEMO - THE BIG ONE - FOR OUR FUTURE TEAM GB ATHLETES!


THE BIG MEETING HAS ARRIVED!!! 

TOMORROW - Tuesday 21st August 2012 from 6.15pm outside Wandsworth Town Hall.  

This crucial council meeting could seal Elliott School’s fate.

Now we have hit the NATIONAL PRESS we are expecting a media presence so numbers matter.

SO FAR WE HAVE OVER 55,000 PETITION SIGNATURES. 

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_Londons_school_fields/

We need ALL supporters of Elliott, schools, playing fields and green space - wherever you might live - to join us for a mass demonstration! 

This could be your LAST CHANCE TO PREVENT ALL FORTHCOMING SALES OF PLAYING FIELDS.

OUR OLYMPIC LEGACY NEEDS YOU!

We need as many people to come down, to let the councillors know how precious we think the School’s land is for Wandsworth’s children, who deserve the right to space to play!

Help us secure the 6 multi-purpose tennis courts, an athletics field and football pitch for future generations, so we can continue to nurture Olympic talent!

Press Coverage on Elliott School & Playing Fields Sell-Off

Please find below a list with links to some of the press coverage from the last few days that has mentioned Elliott School. 

We would love individuals to write letters into the various newspapers in response to the articles published.  Please find the relevant email addresses to send your letters to at the bottom of this post.

———————————————————————————————————————-

  • Michael Gove overruled experts to sell school playing fields

The Guardian, 17th August 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/aug/17/michael-gove-school-playing-fields?INTCMP=SRCH

  • School playing fields: Government apology for wrong data

BBC News, 17th August 2012

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19291911

  • Michael Gove ‘defied advice over selling off school playing fields’

The Independent, 17th August 2012

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/michael-gove-defied-advice-over-selling-off-school-playing-fields-8056376.html

  • Michael Gove ‘overruled’ experts to sell school playing fields

ITV News, 17th August 2012

http://www.itv.com/news/2012-08-17/michael-gove-overruled-experts-to-sell-school-playing-fields/

  • Keep the flame alive: Michael Gove pushed through sales of school playing fields against official advice

The Daily Telegraph, 16th August 2012

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/keep-the-flame-alive/9481037/Keep-The-Flame-Alive-School-playing-fields-at-risk-as-ministers-relax-building-rules.html

  • Estate Agent’s Brochure Proves Playing Fields ARE Still Being Sold Off

The Mirror, 16th August 2012

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/estate-agents-brochure-proves-playing-1263335

  • School sports fields in danger as government relaxes rules 

The Guardian, 14th August 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/aug/14/school-sports-fields-government-olympics?INTCMP=SRCH

  • Graphic: School playing field sell offs, mapped 

The Daily Telegraph, 9th August 2012

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/schoolsports/9464683/Graphic-School-playing-field-sell-offs-mapped.html

  • Cameron criticises teachers over school sports / Teachers must give time for pupils to get sporting chance, says Cameron

The Times, 8th/9th August

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/sitesearch.do?querystring=elliott+school&p=tto&pf=all&bl=on

(Subscription required to view The Times online)

 

  • School playing field sell-offs continue to rise

The Guardian, Tuesday 7 August 2012

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/aug/07/school-playing-field-sell-offs-rise?INTCMP=SRCH

———————————————————————————————————————-

Daily Telegraph

dtletters@telegraph.co.uk

The Guardian

letters@guardian.co.uk

Financial Times

letters.editor@ft.com

The Times

letters@thetimes.co.uk

The Independent

letters@independent.co.uk

Daily Mirror

mailbox@mirror.co.uk

New Briefing Pack Available

Our new briefing pack details the current situation with Elliott School and what you can do to effect Wandsworth Borough Councils plans to sell of the schools playing fields.

REPORT ON THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING, WANDSWORTH BOROUGH COUNCIL, ON 11TH JULY 2012 REGARDING ELLIOTT SCHOOL

Save Elliot School Campaigners in the Public Gallery in the Council Chamber were left angry and more determined than ever to continue their opposition to Council plans to sell off more than 40% of school land including playing fields, sports facilities and the all important setting for the Grade ll listed building. 

The Opposition Labour Party had proposed that the Council take immediate action to release funding for Elliott School in order to carry out urgent repairs to the School. They tabled a serious alternative for consideration that the Council should finance the short term cash flow requirements from its surplus cash balances so that alternative funding plans could be scrutinised. The Opposition argued that the Council had failed to bring to Committee adequately broad-ranging financial background papers to allow full discussion of an appropriate financial rescue package for the Grade ll listed School. 

This motion was immediately voted down by the majority party and substituted by a shockingly disrespectful and cynical amendment that “This Council is taking the necessary steps to secure a sustainable future for Elliott School”

The leader of the Council, Ravi Govindia claimed that: ‘all heritage buildings should earn their own keep’. The statement is laughable if it weren’t so irresponsible. Councillor Kathy Tracey said that the current problems of a cold building in winter and a hot one in summer was the fault of the original architects and therefore current and future generations should not pay. Of course it’s not as simple as that. So Wandsworth are happy to deplete their educational estate, diminish the potential of a listed building of stature and reduce the educational possibilities for generations of schoolchildren to come, while absolving themselves of decades of neglect.

The appalling shame is that Wandsworth Council could have secured central government funding had they applied earlier for Building Schools for the Future (BSF). They didn’t apply until 2007, 6 years after BSF started.  After the cancellation of BSF they failed to pursue the possibility of Priority Schools Building Programme on what now appear to be spurious grounds that listed buildings are not eligible. (see DOCOMOMO letter to the AJ 4th July here)

All round Wandsworth Borough Council are letting down current and future generations and prepared to destroy part of our national heritage for the sake of fiscal dogma. Even when other sustainable alternatives are put to them they struggle to listen.

Follow the link to see more about the Campaign to save Elliott School and what you can do to help:

http://saveelliottaction.wordpress.com/

We have a new action website that explains what you can do to help the campaign. Please take a look and write to Michael Gove today.

We have a new action website that explains what you can do to help the campaign. Please take a look and write to Michael Gove today.

5TH JULY 2012: OFFICIAL NOTICE GIVEN BY WANDSWORTH OF INTENTION TO DISPOSE OF ELLIOTT SCHOOL LAND

Wandsworth Borough Council have now issued their Official Notice in the Wandsworth Guardian July 5th to dispose of 15,070 square metres of Elliott School land.

Section 77 land sale plan 5th July 2010

This plan showing the specified open area for disposal can be viewed during normal office hours at the Marble Hall Reception of the Town Hall.


Objections to the intended disposal must be made in writing and addressed to:


The Assistant Director of Administration (Professional Services)

Wandsworth Borough Council

Room 148

The Town Hall

Wandsworth High Street

LONDON   SW18 2PU


by no later than Friday 3rd August 2012

SO EVERYBODY MUST WRITE AGAIN ….. SIMPLE OBJECTIONS….. AND SPREAD THE WORD TO OTHERS TO DO THE SAME