9:20am Thursday 15th March 2012
Battle lines are drawn between Wandsworth Council and campaigners trying to stop the demolition of a listing building and the sale of playing fields to fund a new academy school.
In November, the council announced plans to convert Elliot School, in Pullman Drive, Putney into an academy and are now trying to persuade Secretary of State Michael Gove, to approve the demolition of the grade II listed sports hall and technology facility.
It wants to fund the conversion by selling off four acres of the school's playing fields.
Both announcements have provoked outrage from parents and former pupils who have launched a Save Elliott School campaign.
They are backed by the Twentieth Century Society, which strives protect post-1914 architecture.
A 100-strong demonstration was held outside the town hall on February 29 to protest at the local authority's plans.
Christina Malathouni, from the Twentieth Century Society, said: "The scheme considered proposes very substantial demolition of a nationally listed building - the proposed disposal of surrounding fields would also have a very strong impact on the setting of the listed building.
"Therefore, we are deeply concerned that the wrong message comes across through this report, as if the listed status of the building is a secondary factor."
Former student Ed Lattimore believes the numbers who turned up to demonstrate shows how much support the campaign has.
He said: "It shows the extent of local feeling and hopefully, in time, this will become a national story. It deserves to be because of the architecture at stake and because the situation at Elliott is symptomatic of what's happening all over the country, mostly rushed through under the radar.
"Thankfully Elliott's historical significance and its devout community means this time they have met their match."
A statement by the council's finance and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee endorsed the council's original plan.
It read: "We have noted the contents of two written submissions to the council on the proposals from the Twentieth Century Society and the Save Elliott School Campaign.
"Both of which contend that the proposals fail to recognise the significance of the heritage asset of the site, especially owing to the proposed substantial demolition of a nationally listed building and disposal of surrounding fields.
"However, we consider that adoption of the proposals will enable significant progress to be made towards the proposed longer term future of the Elliott School."
A consultation will now take place over the next month to guage local feeling towards the plans.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group