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Petition: 55,000 oppose Elliott School demolition

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More than 55,000 have signed a petition against plans to partially demolish the Grade II-listed Elliott School in Putney

The campaign to save the John Bancroft-designed 1954 school and its playing fields - 40 per cent of which will be sold off - has received more than 55,000 signatories said it needs 100,000 signatures to force a debate on the issue in parliament.

Meanwhile a protest is planned to take place tonight outside local authority Wandsworth Council’s town hall to coincide with a committee vote on whether to proceed with the controversial scheme.

Former British ambassador to Iraq and local resident Terence Clark last month joined the scheme’s chorus of objectors, which also includes English Heritage, The | Twentieth Century Society, Docomomo and Bancroft’s widow, Janet.

Last week, The Daily Telegraph claimed to have seen documents revealing that the Department for Education overruled the recommendations not to sell by the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel.

It said this had happened five times since February 2011 – more than in the previous nine years.

Elliott School (pictured) in South-west London, which Wandsworth Council plans to transform into an Ark Schools academy, was the most high-profile of these cases.

About 40 per cent of the site could be sold for housing to help fund the refurbishment of what remains.

Former student Ed Lattimore of the Save Elliott School campaign said: ‘The proposal destroys 41 per cent of the original landscaping design, fundamental to the pioneering approach of the schools design and its listing, and still includes significant demolition and alteration of the sports hall - a principal part of the cruciform design which has many special features that should be preserved.

 ‘The council and their consultants are  doing their best to justify structural defects to back up their case. Does it not come down to the fact that it is a bit more expensive to refurbish rather than replace? That is always what the council has admitted. Why should our heritage be subject to such treatment by one of wealthiest councils with the lowest council tax in the country?’

He added: ‘Arguments about the sports hall not being fit for purpose are inaccurate and designed to be emotive without looking at the facts. The buildings and grounds could accommodate sports at competitive level if managed properly.’ 

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