I found out today that the decant and rebuilding programme for Gordonbrock School has been delayed by six months due to a legal challenge by Brockley Society. I heard from Council officers on Tuesday evening that a delay was likely, and letters were sent home to parents yesterday confirming this. I understand that Council officers and Brockley Society representatives will be meeting next week to discuss the legal challenge, and hopefully more will become clear after that. There will also be a meeting for parents at the school soon, date tbc.
I don't know the details, but my understanding is that the challenge is to do with whether or not the Council carried out an environmental impact assessment as part of the planning process.
At this stage I've got a lot more questions than I have answers, and am keen to get more information from officers as soon as possible, particularly about what the financial implications of this latest delay will be. While I've been quite vocal in my criticism of aspects of the planning application, in particular the appearance of the new building, I worked constructively with officers to secure some (modest) improvements to it, and was clear that the latest application was an improvement on the 2005 application in a number of ways. I am concerned that this latest delay may jeopardise the funding, and while I think the current plans are far from perfect, they are far better than no improvements at all. It would be awful for the school to once again lose the funding, as happened 5 years ago.
In addition to the legal challenge, Brockley Society have published a feasibility study suggesting an alternative way of refurbishing the existing buildings, without demolishing any of them, but still increasing capacity to three form entry, creating larger classrooms, a large assembly hall etc. The document, looks professionally produced and clearly the society have put a lot of time and effort into it, but comes very late in the day, just a few weeks before the decant was scheduled to start. I've asked officers for their views on the viability of what is proposed in it, and what the financial implications would be.
I hope to be able to be able to post more information soon, when I have it. In the meantime I've set up a straw poll on the site to gauge readers' opinions. If the options I've given don't cover your view, please use the comments section of this post to share them.