Greg Hands MP and Hammersmith and Fulham’s Conservative Councillors have written to the Labour council leader today suggesting a new site for Fulham Boys School.
Watermeadow Court on Townmead Road, London SW6 2RW is currently an empty housing estate, owned entirely by the council – which could be released very quickly to save the school from having to send pupils expecting to start this September away to other schools.
The site is currently derelict and unoccupied, with no existing planning applications or planning permissions and entirely within the Council’s direct ability to sell with no complications. Geographically the site is in south Fulham, easily accessible by bus and train and easily walkable from a large proportion of SW6 postcodes.
Until the permanent site is ready there would also need to be an extension of the lease by Capco for the temporary site at Gibbs Green – from two to three or four years. The Labour Council had effcetively been blocking this.
But in a welcome and significant development the Council’s Children and Education Policy & Accountability Committee, meeting on Tuesday, agreed to a motion from Cllr Caroline ffiske backing an extension of the lease.
The motion said the committee:
“1) Fully supports Fulham Boys School and its educational vision.
2) On the basis that a permanent site can be secured, fully supports Fulham Boys School in its effort to secure a longer lease (beyond two years) of the Gibbs Green school site, giving the school a workable timeframe to find a permanent site.
3) Will work to ensure that LBH&F officers work cooperatively with Capital and Counties to understand and best manage planning and other permissions that might be required to enable the school to operate successfully on the site beyond two years
4) Will work to ensure that councillors and officers of LBHF work cooperatively with FBS founders and other interested parties to find a permanent site for Fulham Boys School.”
The prospect of an extension of the tempoorary site combined with a realistic option for a permanent site means there is a sliver of hope.
H&F Council Conservative Group Leader Cllr Greg Smith said:
“With the new Labour Council having stopped the permanent site Fulham Boys School were expected to take over from being available, local Conservatives are determined to help the Governors of the school and local parents find a new site to get the school open as soon as possible. The Watermeadow Court site is one entirely in the gift of the council and having said they support the school, I seriously hope they now do everything they can to make the land available.”
“I met the Schools Minister again this week, and he was clear that for Fulham Boys School to be given approval and funding, it needs to show it has an excellent chance of securing a permanent site. This new site has huge advantages: it is owned by the Council; it is effectively empty and not in use; it has no existing planning permissions granted and it is very well located. Let us see if the Council will work with us, even at this very late hour, to do the right thing for the parents of the Fulham Boys School.”
The letter to Cllr Cowan can be read here:
The Fulham Boys School has welcomed the potential new site being identified.
Pingback: From @peter_graham: Does the council actually want @fulhamboys school to find a site? | Hammersmith and Fulham Forum