It contains some significant inaccuracies on events and commentary made at the recent public meeting at the school.
Whilst there was a small minority of Sydenham Society members present who endeavoured to dominate the proceedings, including one individual who brandished a placard who only reluctantly agreed to its removal when a majority of voices complained that his actions were rude and it prevented them from observing proceedings. SydSoc's presentation was lopsided. It advised the meeting that as a Society, they had not objected to the original design proposal. It moved on then to articulate a current preference for a different materials finish, namely brick, that until that point had never been proposed by the Society or the previous designers Their commentary returned to a previously deployed thread of unsubstantiated criticism that there was danger present on the school ground in that asbestos material had not been removed safely and written reports about it were not submitted on time. That was effectively and conclusively refuted as it was reported to the meeting that HSE had observed the controlled removal of that material and it was confirmed that there was no question of there being any latent contaminants present.
Members of the audience expressed dismay that these unsubstantiated rumours voiced at the meeting by SydSoc had been subject of fly posting in the vicinity of the school. Parents advised that they felt this was causing unnecessary distress in the minds of parents and children and they had made attempts to remove the offending posters.
Local Ward Councillor Tom Copley said
It is regrettable that this assertion that there had been unanimous agreement on the "reference" has been made. At the school meeting the majority who spoke, were critical of SydSoc's interventions that were causing delay. The outcome from the school meeting is evidently and widely at odds with that reported from the Assembly.he had chaired the Sydenham Assembly meeting where the reference had been unanimously agreed and he believed the scheme’s critics were not a small minority of the community.
it was evident that those of us who were present that there was a majority view, by a considerable margin, that events in the whole matter were seen as being regrettable. However that majority view called for construction of the full scheme now had to be brought to completion soonest. SydSoc were challenged from the floor about about their prolongation of events by introducing new design considerations. All parents who spoke addressed the issue of their children's education being impacted by potential further delay.
Of the SydSoc presence, only Pat Trembath made any significant and positive impact by providing a precise and accurate narrative about the extents of works for the park entrance that had been approved in the original application, which countered the current designer's assertion of a much lesser scope of works.
Does any one else feel that Mayor Damien Egan's reported thanks to SydSoc are misplaced ?
DRAFT MINUTES OF THE MAYOR AND CABINET
Wednesday, 10 July 2019 at 6.30 pm
PRESENT: Damien Egan (Mayor), Chris Best, Chris Barnham, Paul Bell, Kevin Bonavia,
Joe Dromey, Brenda Dacres, Amanda De Ryk and Jonathan Slater.
ALSO PRESENT: Councillor Tom Copley.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Andre Bourne and Councillor Joani
Declaration of Interests
None were made.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on June 26 2019 be
confirmed and signed as a correct record.
Matters Raised by Scrutiny and other Constitutional Bodies
Response to Sydenham Society on Our Lady and St Philip Neri School
The submission that had unanimously been agreed by the Sydenham
Assembly was introduced by Annabel McLaren, the Chair of the Sydenham
Society. She tabled a document setting out the Society’s concerns relating to
the breach of the original planning conditions and called for the drawing up of
a separate legal document which ensures that required works were urgently
completed. She was supported by Julia Webb who agreed that it was
important that a solution was agreed which ensured the school buildings
reached completion. They suggested that the developers preference for re-
cladding of the building with grey pebbledash should be replaced with panels
faced with slips of London stock brick.
The Director of Planning, Emma Talbot introduced the suggested response
report and confirmed a minor material amendment application was likely to be
considered by a Planning Committee in August. She indicated that in parallel
the authority reserved the right to retain an option for enforcement action.
Dr Hughes, Director of Education, responded on behalf of the Education
Commission of the Archdiocese of Southwark. He stated two public meetings
had strongly supported the application and he claimed the views of the
Sydenham Society were not representative of the wider community. He said
legal advice given to him suggested the minor material amendment
application would bring the building back into line with the original application
and that there was no need for a full application. He claimed the original
scheme was as drawn up by the Borough Architects, but Councillor Bell
pointed out the authority did not have an architects section. Dr Hughes
confirmed Home Park was already the school’s main entrance.
Councillor Paul Bell expressed shock at the apparent belligerent stance
adopted by the Commission. He wondered why no apology had been given
when it was clear the building was not in line with the original planning
Sean McGrath, a Planning consultant for the Education Commission
explained the original consent had not proved buildable and the failure to
identify a safe asbestos free decant option had meant children were on site
during the building process which was a considerable complicating factor. He
said a full apology for the applicant’s failings had been given at a public
meeting in January. He said the Commission were striving to get back to the
original scheme and pointed out London stock bricks had never been
consented with cladding always being intended. In answer to a query from
Councillor Best as to why the cladding promised by architects Pollard Thomas
Edwards had not been delivered, Mr McGrath said the cladding had not been
completed as works had been suspended until the planning situation could be
The Director of Planning stated she believed the Commission’s response
misrepresented legitimate community concerns and that in her opinion the
cladding currently visible on site was unacceptable. She acknowledged some
representations supporting the school had been received.
Local Ward Councillor Tom Copley said he had chaired the Sydenham
Assembly meeting where the reference had been unanimously agreed and he
believed the scheme’s critics were not a small minority of the community.
Councillor Chris Best expressed her severe disappointment with the
implementation of the scheme and indicated her support for the views
emanating from the Sydenham Society.
The Mayor concluded by thanking the Sydenham Assembly and the
Sydenham Society for highlighting this case. He hoped the Commission was
hearing the message that their conduct had been unacceptable and their
response to valid criticisms was very disappointing. He urged the Commission
to engage the wider community in the delivery of an acceptable solution
Having considered an officer report, and a presentations by the Sydenham
Society, the Education Commission of the Archdiocese of Southwark, Ward
Councillors and the Director of Planning, the Mayor and Cabinet
RESOLVED that the contents of the response be approved and reported back
to the Sydenham Assembly.