SYDENHAM: Head welcomes school's English Heritage listing failure

3:05pm Wednesday 24th November 2010

By Mark Chandler

LISTING recommendations which threatened to scupper a school rebuild project have been turned down in a “surprise decision”.

Sydenham School in Dartmouth Road is due to be redeveloped using money secured from the now defunct government Building Schools for the Future programme.

But a listing recommendation from English Heritage in the summer had threatened to derail the project.

The organisation had recommended parts of the Dartmouth Road school to be Grade II listed due to their design by brutalist Basil Spence’s architecture firm, its use of materials and its historic interest.

But the government confirmed in a letter last week that the building was not of sufficient interest to merit a listing.

Head teacher Barbara Williams welcomed the decision, particularly as it meant pupils could use the current building while the new school was built.

She said: "We're all absolutely over the moon.

"We felt we deserved new buildings and to have just refurbished us in a listed building would have been to the immense disadavantage of our young women."

English Heritage’s recommendation led to Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock writing to the government claiming the 1950s school was “fit for nothing more than demolition”.

Sir Steve said: “I was delighted by this surprise decision.

“It strikes me as a fine example of a victory for common sense and I am sure it will be widely welcomed locally by the staff and students of this school who will now be able to enjoy a fit-for-purpose school in which to further improve on their already impressive performance.”

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