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Historic London school must not be demolished

The Victorian Society is urging Lewisham Borough Council to rethink its education plans following the listing of Lewisham Bridge Primary school.

The council is currently appealing against the decision by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to list the school on Elmira Street at Grade II.

'Whilst we can appreciate that the listing decision is very frustrating for Lewisham Borough Council, which had applied to demolish the building, the fact is they now own a school that is recognised as being of national importance', said Alex Baldwin, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'This shouldn't be seen as an obstacle to progress, but celebrated as part of the borough's heritage and adapted for 21st century use.'

Historic schools such as Lewisham Bridge offer strong adaptable fabric. They have wide corridors, high ceilings and large halls which give them a flexibility to adapt to changing educational needs.

Lewisham Council says it needs more secondary school places in the north of the borough and it wants to replace Lewisham Bridge Primary School with a new school taking 835 pupils aged from 3 to 16. Such a plan is only possible with complete demolition of the Edwardian school building. Now that the building is listed at Grade II this would be fiercely opposed.

Alex Baldwin added, 'it's impossible to see how the historic building can be retained if the borough sticks to its plan to educate more than 800 children on the site. It is time for a re-think'.


Monday 22 June, 2009

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