School plan for disused Highcombe playing field


Our Lady of Grace primary school could be rebuilt on a long-disused playing field in Highcombe if plans submitted to Greenwich Council get the go-ahead.

A planning application has been submitted to move the Roman Catholic primary school from its oversubscribed site on Charlton Road onto the playing field, which has sat disused since the early 1990s since Christ The King Sixth Form College moved to Lewisham. The school site would be redeveloped into housing.

The rebuilt school would have its entrance and exit on Lime Kiln Close, the cul-de-sac built on the site of what used to be St Austin’s boys’ school, whose playing field it was.

Our Lady of Grace is one of six south east London schools in the running to have a replacement school built under the Priority Schools Building Programme – if the government gives it the funds and the council backs the plans, it could be open by 2015.

While the plan (reference 13/2692/L) is due to be publicised in this week’s edition of council newspaper Greenwich Time, at the time of writing it can’t be viewed on the council website because of a technical fault.

The proposal also affects the Charlton Community Gardens group, which had been proposing to use some of the land for a community garden. But with Greenwich Council committed to ensuring there is no loss of community open space (the disused field is shown on a map as just that, despite it being owned by a French religious order and having been out of bounds for two decades), the group is exploring options as to how it can attempt to secure some land there.

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7 Responses to School plan for disused Highcombe playing field

  1. Peter says:

    I had a chance to look at some of the documents before the on line planning application site failed.
    The proposal is for a two form entry school for over 400 pupils; about double the size of the currrent school. The proposed building takes up much of the former playing fields and will be close to the rear gardens of Wyndcliffe Ave ,Limekiln Drive, Bramhope Lane and Copse Close. Some of the new school will be 2 stories high.

    Vehicle access is proposed via Limekiln Drive with a pedestrian access off Highcombe. Both roads are very narrow . I can see this being a problem. The appear to be only 15 parking for staff and visitors are on site, so there is a potential impact for other nearby streets

    The application also proposes re-development of the site of existing school for 2 and 3 storey housing and flats, which may impact on some homes in Bramhope Lane and Copse Close. Its aalso planned to demolish the parish hall and build a new one behind the Presbertry.

    The former playing fields are earmarked in the Council’s Unitary Development Plan for Community Open Space. The site hasn’t been acccessible or used for about 20 years, but the Council’s planning policies identify this part of Charlton as an area with a shortage of parking and playgrounds. The playing fileds site is an opportunity to do something about this shortge. The planning application argues that the open space released by redevelopment of the existing school and parish hall is equivalent to that to be lost on the playing fields part of the site. But this seems to be counting lots of odd shaped biits of Iand around and I can’t see how this will be available to or usable by the local community.

    Incidentally, its the site of the existing school that is owned by a French religious order, The former playing fileds are owned by the Catholic Diocese.

  2. Rejory says:

    Even though our children attend the school (which is a great) I would still not like to see the loss of the green space – particularly with such a lack of school playing fields these days. Undeveloped land is like this should be cherished for local residents and certainly not built over, even for such a good cause. I’ve always thought it should be opened up for community use rather than be left in an abandoned state. Just my two penneth’s worth.

  3. Alison says:

    Just to update many residents (and we are one of them) in Copse Close have already written to the council with various objections to the development? The plans show a block of 24 flats 3 storeys high built very close to the boundary of the playing fields and Copse Close. The council need 8 formal strong objections to the proposals to then have to set up a committee to discuss this development. I would urge you all to write with your objections in the next week or so.

  4. Juliet King-Smith says:

    I’d be very sorry to see this piece of undeveloped ground built upon. I used to love going in there with my old dog, as we would often catch a glimpse of foxes and, in the spring, families of fox cubs sunning themselves. It was often hard to get in, as ‘the authorities’ would mend areas of fencing that had been broken down, presumably to stop fly-tipping. But it was lovely to enjoy such an unspoiled space.

    It would be a big mistake to develop it, either for housing or as a school. This would generate a huge volume of extra traffic and there’s too much of that already, twice a day outside Sherington School, just round the corner. And where would the new occupants park?

    I would love to see this area transformed into a community space, perhaps along the lines of the piece of ground just north of Mycenae House gardens – that’s to say, just left to itself and the wildlife, with access to the public, who could come in just to mooch around and relish the wildflowers and birdsong.

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