London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved plans for the creation of a free school on Rotherhithe New Road as part of a scheme that also includes a 19-storey apartment block with 158 homes.
SCCD Developments’ proposals for the scheme were rejected by Southwark Council in June on the grounds that they were “overbearing” and would build on valuable industrial land.
But Johnson took over the application for determination arguing that the plans, which include a 450-place free school and nursery as well as a 60-place sixth-form extension for the City of London Academy, would add much needed educational capacity to the borough.
Johnson said that the site’s current use as lorry and HGV park was “low-intensity” in terms of local industry, and that the proposals would provide a permanent home for Southwark Free School, which is currently based in temporary accommodation on the Ledbury Estate.
“With London Councils’ own figures showing that boroughs face a shortage of more than 100,000 permanent primary places by 2016-17, it’s clear we are heading for a school places emergency,” he said.
“It is critical that our youngsters have access to schools that offer high quality teaching and this new school will relieve some of the pressure in Southwark.”
A new website for the local community, which explains the council's plans for the regeneration of Old Kent Road, has been launched