Author: Cyril Richert
Wandsworth Council has exchanged contracts to buy the former Bolingbroke Hospital in Battersea so it can be used as a new state secondary school, councillors heard tonight.
The refurbishment and future running costs of Bolingbroke Academy will be met by central government. Wandsworth Council will retain the freehold for the building.
As a consequence, the proposed planning application submitted by St George’s NHS Trust to make residential accommodation is withdrawn (you might remember that we objected HERE).
Last October, we were pointing out that the Director of Finance said that “any Priority Purchase by the Council would need to be met from government grant which is currently unconfirmed“. But we also confirmed in our analysis of the Government’s spending review that “the Free School measure being a key part of the government policy it [was] difficult to envisage that they could deny the support needed for one of the most advanced free school dossier in the country [and] further elements (including funding for Wandsworth) could be unveiled before the end of the year“.
We cannot write yet how much was paid for the purchase (the report for the Committee says: This report contains exempt information and is therefore not available to the public.)
Once the deal is complete the building will be leased to a local parents group (the current Neighbourhood School Campaign) which will turn it into a ‘free school’. You can read our analysis of the report that was presented in September before the Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The NSC has been campaigning for a non-selective, non-denominational school since 2009. In May 2010, the NSC chose ARK , to set up and operate the new school. The paper showed before the Committee explained with details (5 page report but with 17 page appendix including the proposal form) the aim and objective of the school.
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