protesters occupy school(from indymedia)
Published: Thursday 23 April 2009 16:01 by No Body In Particular
Tagged as: social_struggles Neighbourhoods: lewisham
Protesting parents have occupied a school roof-top to voice opposition against plans to build a new academy.
Children from Lewisham Bridge Primary School are being bussed from their school gates to a temporary school in nearby New Cross as part of the plans.
Campaigners said the disruption would adversely affect their children's education and want the plans reversed.
But Lewisham Council insisted the plans to build a new secondary school on the current site were vital.
"Myself and a number of other parents are very angry that our children are being expected to go to a school that is over a mile away from where we live, while our own school stands empty," said Eleanor Davies, one of the roof-top protesters.
"The council decided that all the children and staff would have to leave the school before they got planning permission to build their new academy."
English Heritage confirmed that the primary school has been given Grade II-listed status.
Campaigners said they hoped that will delay the council's plans to demolish the two-storey Victorian building.
Council leaders described the school's new listed status as a "shock decision".
"This decision beggars belief," said Lewisham's mayor Sir Steve Bullock.
"It has been made by an undisclosed civil servant with no regard whatsoever for local need. The future prospects of our children and young people cannot be sacrificed for the sake of somebody's fancy for Edwardian sinks, butterfly designs and tiling."
He said a rising population within the borough meant the borough needed additional secondary school places.
The new academy Lewisham wants to build will cater for children aged three to 16 and would be run by Leathersellers, a City Livery company.
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