Steve calls for halt to police-station sell-off to ease school places crisis
Croydon North’s Labour MP Steve Reed has called on Michael Gove and Boris Johnson to halt the sale of South Norwood Police Station so the site can be used for a school instead. Figures made public by Croydon Council show the borough faces a shortfall of up to 1,560 permanent primary-school places by 2016 if urgent action is not taken.
Mr Reed has written to the Education Secretary and Mayor of London demanding their intervention to stop the sale of the police station which is currently being marketed for housing development. Instead, the Croydon North MP wants it used for a new school providing some of the places local children need.
In the letter, Mr Reed says: “it makes no sense to sell off this public building for housing if there are not enough school places locally to accommodate the children who might one day live there. I am writing to ask you to intervene personally… to ensure that this site is made available for a school rather than sold for private development.”
The full text of Mr Reed’s letter to the Education Secretary is reproduced below:
Dear Mr Gove
Croydon has a desperate and growing shortage of primary school places. The borough has the highest percentage growth in demand for places in the country, and the council is now anticipating a shortfall of 52 forms of entry by 2016/17. The problem is particularly acute in the north of the borough which I represent. The area is extremely densely populated with little free space available on which to build the new schools local parents want and need.
This is a time for Government to coordinate activity to help tackle the school-places crisis. The Mayor of London has recently decided to close South Norwood Police Station. The site offers a large building in the heart of the community that is so desperate for more school places. The property is currently being marketed for ‘potential residential development’ but it makes no sense to sell off this public building for housing if there are not enough school places locally to accommodate the children who might one day live there.
I am writing to ask you to intervene personally with the Mayor of London to ensure that this site is made available for a school rather than sold for private development. It seems eminently preferable that the sale of this site should be halted so that it can be made available instead for a new school providing some of the additional places local children so desperately need.
Steve Reed MP